Social Media For Restaurants in 2013

restaurant-social-mediaRestaurants and social media really work well together. People have a need to eat and for many people the like to share it. Who doesn’t like to talk about their favorite food and share that experience with others both at the restaurant and online. We care a lot about what we eat. That is why restaurateurs should care about social.

1) Claim your listing in Google+ for business. The bulk of your business might be The process to open a Google+ page for business is easy but the process will take up to a week since Google sends a verification pin by mail. The benefit is that this shows up in search engines. A well optimized listing should allow you to show up in the top of search results. Having this listing is important as you can share food images, promotions, and important information about your company. Don’t forget that Google is also a review site now which enables people to rate your company.

2) Yelp and Trip Advisor for social media reviews. Although review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor may not necessarily be thought of as social media the fact is that they kind of are. Social media is a medium that allows people to be social. What these companies provide are photos and reviews of user experiences of hotels, tourist destinations, and restaurants. Just spend a little time on the site and you will see that people are busy uploading their thoughts and photos of restaurants and perhaps yours. Other honorable mentions for review social sites are:

3) Twitter for social sharing. Engaging your (potential) customers through social media can help you get exposure and interest in your company. You can even search for users mentioning your area food and give them a discount. Even fast food companies like McDonald’s use it to promote products, ask questions about their food, and give freebies. Now with the new Vine app customers can share their experience in video format.

4) Photo sharing sites like Foodspotting. Photos are important because it helps people eat with their eyes first. How often have you gone out and saw a photo or saw someones dish and inquired about it? My point is providing good quality photos makes sense to help drive interest in your dishes. Places like Foodspotting, recently aqcuired by OpenTable, allows customers to share their favorites and really only caters to positive experiences showing up in their feed. Enabling customers to share their experience will help your customers to find experience some of your brand before trying it out. So let them eat a little.
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Twitter

5) Videos through social sites like Youtube. Videos give you a great outlet to tell your story. Using a video can help people experience your brand a little more like what is happening in the lobby, at the table, and in the kitchen. By telling the story your customers may be most interested in your location because of the experience. Perhaps your restaurant is fun or romantic and by showing a video you can tell the story that way. Some other video sites.

6) Promotions through social site like Foursquare. Although Google+, Yelp and many review sites have Promotions I mention Foursquare as just another place to share your promotions. Foursquare is becoming more of a local business site with reviews and photo sharing. Just spend a little time and you’ll find that people like to engage their with recently upload photos and reviews of a company. You can provide coupons and promotions to your company.

7) Facebook & Instagram is nearly the given these days. People are addicted to the platform which gives diners the opportunity to share their dinner experience. Create a fan page to help push promotions, menu updates, and exciting events at your location to those most interested. This also allows you to add photos and videos that your customers may be interested in. Instagram also allows brand pages which you can share your restaurant photos with users. Followers are often pushed the information to your business.

8) Social media monitoring of your restaurant for reputation management. Using social media can be powerful but left alone can be disastrous. A show on the Food Network called “Restaurant Impossible” highlights companies that are failing. The common recipe is that their food is poor, environment is bad, and the customer service stinks. Most of the time this could have been stopped earlier by the owner of the restaurant watching for reviews. By watching what people are saying about your company is good tool to gauge how your restaurant is performing. This is part of reputation management which gives you feedback on your company. You often can rectify any negative situations and turn it positive if the customer is reasonable.

Promotion can be ease the time is often what gets most of us. With these tips you should be able to improve your restaurants brand and gain faithful customers. Are there social media things you have done that is a success? What is working for you and what isn’t?

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5 Ways Vine Could Be Used for Social Media Marketing

vineTwitter bought Vine a app used to create short videos. The social media/micro bloggging added the ability to share a short 6 sec video with ease. It is the 140 characters of video sharing. But in this case if you can shoot a 24-30 frames per second then you get a whole lot more characters in a single slice. What is interesting is that many brands have already begun to capture six second slices to promote their brands. Here is some thoughts on where brands will take twitter with social media marketing.

1) The new vine app will help promote brands. Within the short announcement of this we see companies already using the app to promote their company. Urban Outfitters were showing videos of dog which was more about getting attention of the brand than promoting it’s products.

2) Vine will help brands promote products. It is undoubtedly that videos have helped businesses promote their products. The internet removes the tactile part of buying then video is the next best thing. The video sharing of short clips of your product could allow brands to show their products to customers. Couple this with the ease of Twitter’s ability to share the product then we have short six second videos embedded on a product pages. Just one way to help convert customers.

3) Companies are able to share experience. Travel companies, restaurants, and hotels could show unique features of their business in an easy short video. Like products, show casing locations and services allow customers to engage with a brand a little further and experience their company better.

4) Some other thoughts brands might be able to give step-by-step guides for cooking, helping customers share reviews in short 6 second increments, or even create mini episodes. It’s likely the service will expand beyond to six seconds.

5) Vine might help in the future with search engine rank. Twitter already allows Google to index the site and the more use of it’s feature the more likely search engines will index the content. It will more than likely appear in the columns that we see like video. Expect this to be just one more thing to help with reputation management.

Twitter has been useful for brands to promote their company with coupons, discounts, and public announcements. Now with the launch of its recently acquired video sharing app it is likely to broaden the use of companies to promote products, services and experiences. We look forward to seeing how people and brands are using the service.

How are you using Vine for you business? Share with us we would love to know.

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Using Authorship for Conversion & Branding

Microdata also called rich snippets has become a major part of the digital space. One particular formatting is called authorship driven mostly by Google. This actually has been around for some time and is incredibly easy to implement. What authorship gives is a blogger/writer the opportunity to claim the content written by the author. So if a website has the markup as signal the content is attributed by search engine attributes to that individual.

The benefits that comes from authorship help drive traffic and conversion. How this helps is say your article is good but you don’t have the kind of traffic that would necessarily gain links and even social media mentions that a larger more established site or author would. One so called reader takes your content and with little or no mention publishes your content and gains the links and social mentions you had hoped for. With authorship included on your website a search engines may decide that your site was the first to publish and therefore the authority on the subject. You then may have the links and the social media mentions that the content stolen from you. The other benefit is if you have authorship people are more likely to click on your content. As the image shown above you might be more likely to click on that content of you site. This is in some way a part that should be considered in search engine optimization.

If you plan on blogging you should include authorship to help improve the visibility of your content. Here is how to implement Authorship

Authorship is incredibly easy to get. Here is what you need.
1) Create a Google+ page. You want to have a photo of you that will show up in Google search results. (You kids photo is probably not what you want.
2) Claim the blog or content that is yours. You do this by using an email that is domain related and confirming that you have access to that domain with you email. This would be something like yourname[at]domain[.]com

You can also claim the content by adding your Google+ profile on your domain. It looks something like this.
<a href=”[profile_url]?rel=author”>Google</a>

Google gives you a step by step guide on how to implement authorship. Read it hear.

So if you plan on blogging to drive traffic then it is important to add authorship. It can help drive traffic to your site and even give links. Give it a try and let us know how it is working for you.

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5 Keys to Reputation Management

5 Keys to Reputation Management
Part of internet marketing is all about creating content across multiple channels. As brand it is inevitable that you not only claim your on as many sites that matter yet it is best to protect your brand by claiming them all. This is in part called reputation management. Here we will discuss some tips on managing your reputation.

First, begin by standing for something in your business. Is it quality, customer service, or a guarantee that differentiates you from the competition? If your brand has some quality that is worth creating a reputation around the other parts fall into place. By delivering quality service or product it then becomes much easier to manage your reputation.

Second, create the expectation. Now that you have some quality products or services you can start delivering that promise to you customers. By providing that X factor to your customer so that they know what to expect then it is easier to help protect the brand. Steve Jobs was in part famous by asking if it was the best work someone could deliver. If it wasn’t then it wasn’t good enough.

Third, ask for reviews. This is where the rubber meets the road and simply terrifies business. The reason is that it scares businesses is because it is harder to manage the brand especially when there are negative reviews. However, if you are asking for reviews before then negative reviews come it is much easier to defend your brand when it happens.

Fourth, respond and sympathize with the customer. No one, not even you, likes it when you spent money and you got something you didn’t expect. That is why you can apologize if you’ve fallen short of the expectation. Stay short of becoming upset with the customer. Even if you haven’t wronged them. Be clear and concise about your business. If there is indeed a problem it is the perfect chance to convert them into a valued customer.

Fifth, online marketing to manage listings. If you haven’t been good at this it isn’t to late to get started. It takes time and effort but to create brand loyal customers takes energy and time. Creating online profiles, interacting with customers on places like Google, Facebook, Twitter, and even online directories can help you business succeed and reduce the problems that might be associated with negative reviews. Being proactive and managing this can turn negative consumers into positive ones. Here is a list of things to keep yourself proactive.

Ask for reviews. You can do this by business card, email, in spot or phone call. By staying in touch with your customer you can find out how they viewed your service and find ways to improve it.
Watch for those reviews and respond. By taking a little time to see what people are saying and responding will tell people you care.
Proactively find ways to manage your listings. The more you spend working on your brands image the better your reputation will be.
There are all kinds of things that you can do to improve and manage your reputation. Probably the most important is to manage it. By not saying anything we say a lot by silence. Help your customers by giving them a voice and reinforcing your commitment to your customers by listening and responding.

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Using Instagram for Reputation Management with Public Profiles

Instagram, a mobile sharing site of Facebook, recently announced that its pages were becoming public. Facebook has historically changed privacy policies much to the distaste of its users. Yet it hasn’t kept the billion+ users from returning to its site on a regular basis. Whether you agree with the privacy setting or not it seems that your opportunity to use it for search marketing just might be worth the time. The win goes to the businesses that are already using the photo sharing site at perhaps the expense of those who prefer their privacy. Here are some thoughts on using Instagram for online reputation management.


Instagram in the image space also wins compared to its competitors. After a few days you can see that Instagram is out performing Pinterest but this could be attributed to Instagram being easier to update. From a reputation management position you can see the effect that you could have by using the this site regularly. Below is a list of images 3 out of the 4 images below are Instagram photos. It seems that anyone who uses photos extensively needs to consider this as part of their sharing platform.

Instagram touts examples like @mycookingdiary which has regular updates of photos. It seems only after a few days that brands that have been using it consistently show up in search results. The results that Instagram use seem a little better for some companies that use both Twitter and image sharing site. Although this may not be the case but it is interesting to note that it is just under the branded domain name.

Getting started right now takes a mobile device but I wouldn’t be surprised that in the near future you can expect to be able to setup an account through your desktop. In setting up your profile be sure to include a link and update it regular. Search engines love content so be sure include information about the photo. We setup an account 2 days ago and we will let you know how long it took to get listed. We’ve provided a link in hopes that this will speed up things. We will see.

One thing we are going to test for is whether naming conventions impact in search results. The problem with some mobile devices like the iPhone is that it doesn’t give you the ease of managing your photo file names and the photo sharing site is all about mobile. That is why we have desktop computers also but this is one step that makes it just a little more time consuming. If you are interested in connecting with us Instagram check out our stream at http://instagram.com/emprisemedia to watch our photo stream.

What are your thoughts on the social sharing site? Do you think it is worth the time to invest? Have you had any particular success using the social platform?

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Building Trust to Improve Search Engine Rank

If you were blind how would you trust people? It is easy for us as we see and hear what people do and say. But it becomes more difficult if you can only judge by what you hear and feel. If you were truly blind you would judge someone by what others say about them. This is similar to building trust with search engines. The reason why SEO (search engine optimization) takes time is because we are building trust with search engines. Let us consider how to build trust and improve your search engine rankings.

1) Time
Trust takes time to build. It doesn’t happen overnight with friends and likewise it doesn’t happen in an instant with search engines. Google, Bing and any other search company requires trust. In one sense, search engines are like a blind person and they need you to build trust with them. This takes time and effort so plan to have your website online for the long haul. The longer you are consistent with your company the better the trust.

An example of this is micro formats. Micro formats are ways to markup content with additional data points so that search engines, phones, and computers are able to easily process that information. You might be familiar with how easy a phone number might be to call on a mobile device. In some cases, people have tried to use micro formats to trick search engines into thinking something different about a company. One example was an SEO company who “gamed” the system in making it look like it was a 5 star rated seo company (Read it Here). Once Google figured out that it wasn’t true and the system was turned off for them. The trust was broken. That is hard to recover from.

2) Word of Mouth
It is easier to trust someone when others recommend you. How often do you ask what a good friends favorite restaurant, place to visit or interesting store? After you build trust hearing what others have to say comes a lot easier. With search engines they take links and citations (mentions of your business) from sites they already trust. It is like a friend telling them you can trust this business. The converse is true also. If untrusted sites are linking and citing your business then it may have ding against your business. If you have this problem using Google Webmaster tools disavow links can help.

3) Reviews
Reviews can seal the deal. If people have bought from you this can have an impact on future sales. I am sure you’ve bought something because it had the best reviews. Using the social web can also improve your website performance on the internet. Google and Bing like to see that your website is liked. This in part can be through reviews, mentions through social media outlets, and comments through blogs. Keeping people participating can help build trust with search engines and have a positive impact on the bottom line of your business.

Creating trust can help your business succeed online. It may take time and effort but in the end it is worth every minute of it. The question then becomes how are you portraying trust with search engines? What are your thoughts? Are there things that you are doing to speed up trust?

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Facebook Announces Search Engine: How To Plan Now

Facebook has recently announced its focus on bringing a search engine to it’s social network of online properties. It really is unclear as to what will matter when it comes to doing seo and internet marketing for small business. A study polling a small amount of the 900+ million users says that Facebook could pull about 25% of the search traffic. Really it is hard to say since people do entirely different things on Google and Facebook. With such a large base it is likely that Facebook will get a following. Here are some thoughts that might help you prepare for the upcoming search engine.

1) Create A Facebook Fan Page

Claiming your site will help in authenticating your business with Facebook. You already can create a page and claim a local business listing on Facebook. Facebook might also have freshness algorithm like Google+. Getting consistent now will help you get listed when the search engine launches. This likewise would be a part of what effects listing in the Facebook search results.

2) Using the Open Graph

If you haven’t heard of the Open Graph it is what Facebook along with other social and search sites are using to index information. The Open Graph gives data on everything from products, people, blogs and reviews and displays it in an html format that makes it easier for search engines and social media sites to know what it is about. They look at both the content along with these structured data points to help determine connections and relevancy between information. Including this data on your website so that Facebook can grab your website information and relate it to your business. The benefit now is that most search engines are already grabbing this data.

3) Acquiring Likes

Sharing has become more of a trust signal for search engines. From likes to shares and everything in between these have become another link factor and might replace links in the future. Getting your customers to like your information will definitely be a part of the search algorithm. If Google+ is any indicator that people using the plus page have a better ranking in search results then we likely will see the Like button of Facebook having an impact on the new search engine. It’s almost like we will get addicted to using the button. After all, everyone will be doing it.

What are you thoughts? Have some ideas you want to share. Let us know and we will post them.

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Seminar Slides Loco for Local SEO

The first of our slides for our free small business seminar on marketing. We had a turn out for the first presentation and glad for it since the summer and the first can always be the biggest hurdles to overcome. We covered topics on local seo like claiming your listing on Google, onsite optimization, and some examples of small businesses doing it well. Our next presentation should be on September 5th at the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce. So if you are looking to learn a little bit about the topic or have questions then you will need to sign up for it as the details are yet to come.

 

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Why You Should Care About Reviews and How to Get Them

Every time you provide a service or sell a product to a customer it is on trial. This is often the post purchase conflict that a consumer has after the purchase. Often times a customer will evaluate the purchase after the fact and more so the higher the price. Your customers have specific expectations about how something/someone will perform. This is where you can help your customers be happy with the service or product. This is a quick guide to help you develop a follow up program that can help fix a negative review before it happens and gain customer reviews for those who are already happy.

The importance of reviews have an SEO impact whether from ranking to click through rate.. From a local SEO perspective search engines are using reviews and the velocity of those reviews as a measure for position. Timely relevant information is taken by each and every review. All though this is minor, every little part in the SEO equation will help your business move up in search engine rankings and gain more business. Reviews also impact conversion. When you do you a search are you more likely to buy with reviews or no reviews? So enable your customers to review. Helping them do so and they will sell your products and services.

The 80/20 rule for reviews. In business there is this idea or rule that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers. By leveraging the customers you already have and asking them to review you are the best people who are most familiar with your brand, products, and services. This really is the quickest and easiest opportunity to gain valuable reviews.

- Ask for a review. The moment you do work or sell the product you can ask for a review. Many large corporations do this as way to gauge their customer service. If you don’t get it right away you can follow up with a phone call or email that encourages the buyer to do so. Having a card that helps your customer do this and hand it to them as you leave might be a good way to give them a tangible with an intangible request.

-Email your customers. This goes back to asking for the review. People are more likely to write a review within a short time or instantly from their experience. The power and benefit of this is to give them a reminder. People don’t want to be made to think so by reminding them through an email with a link to your preferred review site they are more likely to follow through on your request.

-Include a place to review on an invoice or receipt. This is kind of a less proactive approach but it still can help you get those needed reviews. Although you are less likely to get a review through this method it still can have a positive effect.

- Include a QR code that links to a review page on business collateral. If you have a business location you can use QR codes to help your customers make reviews. These codes allow your customers to interact with the product or services as they experience it. All they do is scan it with a mobile device (phone) and then are taken to the review. Just tell them where they will end up when they scan it. This also can be on a side of a van, in a restaurant like a menu, or on a product box. The places you can use this are only restricted to your imagination.

-Link from your website to your review sites. Adding a link from your website can give the opportunity for your customers to get engaged and review your content. In many ways as possible you are asking for reviews and allowing people to review. People will look at your content and business and assess whether they want to do business with you. Nothing helps the decision process better if you help them make that decision through other people talking about it.

- Reviews can take many forms. Some reviews are written on paper while others are online. To broaden the reach you can use Google, Yelp, Yahoo, and Bing for your online reviews. But many stores allow you to share your purchase on things like Facebook and Twitter. So don’t limit the way the reviews can take place. You never know what will come of a review.

How do you get reviews from your customers? If you have ideas or thoughts about this topic we would love to know.

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A Few Local SEO Ranking Factors You Should Consider for 2012

Every year David Mihm creates a list of local search ranking factors which I find as information invaluable. The questions are geared to get a concensus to help everyone understand what is going on and rank better in the industry. This topic is particularly on my mind since I am presenting a free small business seminar or local seo.  So to present well I will be covering some topics on this subject up to the presentation. Here are a few thoughts in regard to the reviews.

 

1) The Name and location of your business matters. Often called the NAP (name, address, and phone) If you look at the results of the overall ranking factors you will see that the 1st (physical address in city), 3rd (proximity of to centroid), 6th (city, state in places landing page title), 9th (Local area code), and 10th (HTML NAP in Places Page) along half a dozen other location mentions or more on the survey.   This tells me that your location is just as important of a keyword as some of your other service or product keywords.  So think about naming things based off of a location.

2) The second thing is how much your places page information matters. Items such as location, content, categories, and reviews remain important. Take time and update it often since fresh content effects even your places page. This includes getting your categories down and all of them, having fresh updates, coupons, and customer reviews which we will touch on shortly. So get engaged and draw in your customers to interact with you.  Here was a previous post on your business listing.

3) Citations and links seem to really have an effect. For many local SEO experts look at citations as the litmas test for local search. Now it seems even more so is the inclusion of link building. So take a little time apart from finding citations and get a few links as well both to your website and to your places page. This goes for 3rd party sites like directories and business related sites. You can get great information by using Getlisted.org.

4) Schema. There are some speculation that Schema tagging or microformatting helps improve a local business position. I think this is a good practice as it helps your business stand out from the clutter a little. So include some quality hcard formats. I think in reality the schema or microformats will actually take place of the kml formats. It may for the moment be kml formats do impact but I suspect they are soon exiting the scene.  Read about how to include a micro formatted address.

5) Care about your reviews. Help people review what they bought like food, products, services and coax them into writing a review about the location if possible (hint: including the location in your business name, products, or service will help them include it in their review). It seems that even the velocity of reviews can impact your position. A few tips to do this might to include a link from your site to review your business, a 2d code or qr codes on location, emails if you capture them and send an email inviting them to review.

There are definitely a lot of things we could write about in regard to local search. What are your thoughts about local seo and the results?

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