Google Places, Yelp, and Foursquare – Show People Your Business

Leaps and bounds in technology make public advertising attainable for seasoned professionals and amateurs alike, whether their respective business is producing goods or rendering services. With such a proliferation of self-promotion, consumers today are negating these advertisements and turning to a more trusted source of information: their peers. Abounding social media platforms, which now facilitate mobile, peer-to-peer communication, allow customers and clients to take marketing into their own hands by reviewing their personal experiences and sharing everything from accolades to admonitions. This is good for businesses, however, as this new realm of synergistic marketing allows them to develop their online presence, interact directly with their customer bases, gain valuable, real-time feedback. Let’s take a look at some top social networking platforms that may very well accelerate the growth of your business marketing.

Google Places
Since it’s the world’s most popular search engine, why not populate its search results with your business? Typically, people conducting internet searches want to know basic information fast: the business’s nature, hours, location, a phone number, and ratings. Google Places surmounts this challenge, providing a clean, user-friendly, interactive interface without forcing the user to sift through a multitude of distracting, extraneous information. You can provide the most accurate details of your business, add photos and videos, publicize promotions, and even view tracking data–all for free. Additionally, posting your company in Places ensures your visibility on Google Maps, Google Earth, and Google +, broadening its entrenchment in search results and social media; thus, enhancing a potential customer’s inclination to choose your business.

The beauty of Google Places is that you aren’t required to have an independent website. Google recognizes that, depending on the size of your business and your technological limitations, you may be limited in the extent to which you can construct a website. Now, even the smallest, privately-owned entity can share a powerful web presence with others.

If you’re a small business in an urban area, you need Yelp. Aside from their business pages, Yelp reviews are heavily relied upon when it comes to dining, shopping, and marketing services rendered. With so much interaction among users, Yelp is the perfect place to receive an unadulterated critique from your patrons.

Maintaining an up-to-date company page is crucial in showing potential clientele that you’re involved with and value the customer community. Not being thorough with your profile will reflect poorly on customers and will likely drive their small business elsewhere. Since customer reviews are the name of the game with this site, use their critiques to maintain your strong suits and strengthen your weak ones. You can express gratitude, diplomatically correct slanderous posts, and communicate concern toward disgruntled customers–something that will soften the hearts of most.

Want a simple way to reel in customers? Small promotions and check-in offers are those little acts of kindness that will go a long way.

Show people who you are and where you are. Foursquare, the leader in location-based social networking, allows people to check-in to their current venue using a mobile app, sharing this information with friends and followers using a variety of social networking platforms. With the customers already doing the advertising for you, why not reward them for their efforts? After thoroughly updating your listing on Foursquare, the strongest way to attract customers is to use promotions; for example, giving a patron one free appetizer after a number of check-ins. Also, create a Foursquare page, broadening your internet advertising scope and highlighting revenue-building promotions, specials, and events.