Ask the Experts

How to use social media and review sites to build an online presence

By Elliot Adams

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Business, Want

Leverage social media tools and review sites to create an online presence without your own website
Leverage social media tools and review sites to create an online presence without your own website
Not every business has the resources to create its own website, but by maximising social media and review sites, you can give yourself and your customer a voice. Here Elliot Adams, communications manager at Yelp, shares his tips on building an online business presence.

Be visible

The online world is becoming increasingly important to be a part of, and being visible on review sites is a key factor for businesses looking to connect with consumers. People turn to the Internet to help them decide how and where to spend their money, so make sure you are part of that debate and decision.

While you want people to talk about​ you, it’s also vital that they can talk to​ you. Be aware of and a part of the conversations around your company, and use the feedback you receive to help build it. Make it easy for people to engage with your company and know that their opinion is valued; this key part of your business is achieved largely through your online visibility.

Your profile

As well as simply being visible, your online presence is a great opportunity to communicate how the company operates and the personality behind it. Your profile page is where people go to find information about your business and discover what products and services you offer. The simple act of claiming your profile and filling it out can have a marked impact on new client acquisition.

Information to ensure is correct includes pricing, business hours, the nearest public transport links, and anything else relevant to your product or service. Ensure that a potential customer has absolutely everything they need right at their fingertips, and they may well become a loyal customer for life.

Tell your story

Most people who share their name, company and what they represent online express a narrative. If you talk to customers directly by telling your story, they are far more likely to want to talk to you. Connect with your potential customers and make yourself interesting to them.

People want to feel that they know and understand a company or an individual’s character. Your hotel may offer an incredible selection of films on demand and come equipped with an iPad, but if you don’t tell people your story they are less likely to connect with you and make that all-important decision to visit.

Bring it to life with images

Images are a fantastic way to really showcase your business. Research carried out by Yelp indicates that users stay over 2.5 times longer on business pages that have photos on them compared to those that don’t, so the best way to keep people engaged is to highlight the services that you provide with lots of great photos.

Pick colourful and vibrant photos, and make sure there are enough of them to really make your profile interesting. The photos must be up to date, so you can manage expectations and make your business seem more real. Uploading your own photos adds a personal touch and an understanding of what you can provide, giving you the edge over companies who don’t.

As a closing point, think of your online listing on sites as a window into your business. It is important that everything is correct, neat, tidy, representative of what you do and engaging. If this is not the case, potential customers will simply move along to the next window.

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