Maximize Your Business With Local & Social – Expert Advice From #SESSF

Well the time has come for the third and final day of #SESSF. But don’t you worry, because the action didn’t stop. While the expo hall felt a bit emptier and quieter than it had before, there were still many energized and eager minds. In short, those who stuck it out were stoked for one more day of in-your-face high intensity sessions that covered a wide scope of the dynamic digital landscape.

So what you say we get right down to it? So (social), Lo (local) and Mo (mobile) drew an engaged crowd this morning, revolving around speakers Jon, Schepke, President and Founder of SIM Partners and VP of Localeze, Brian Wool. Keep on reading for a full AIMCLEAR recap of this very timely topic.

Jon took the stage first, and braced the audience. “There are a lot of exciting things to talk about in this space as it is revoloving at a rapid pace. And you need to utilize all the right strategies, tools and technology in order to make yourself successful.” Jon highlighted the areas he planned to cover. Take a gander at the list:

  • Local and Social – The Landscape, the Convergence and SoLoMo and Search
  • Social ROI
  • Google + Local – Search and Social Signals
  • Apple’s Plan – Siri Search and Maps Roll Out
  • What’s ahead: Social Marketing and Marketing Automation

Before jumping right into it, Jon took a minute to show a video his team had put together with all sorts of interesting statistics about how the notion of social, local and mobile are making us even more connected then we are now.

Key points to take away:

  • Consumers are searching for more locally now more than ever.
  • Consumers use social for search.
  • Your customers have gone local – have you?

Convergence is upon us with SoLoMo!
Jon started out by talking about Facebook’s Sponsored Stories. Sponsored Stories are about your ‘Friends’ and ‘Pages’ activities on Facebook. An organization has paid to show a Sponsored Story so there is a better chance someone will engage with the content. A Sponsored Story can be created when someone:

  • Likes a page
  • Likes or comments on a Page’s post
  • RSVPs to a Page’s event
  • Votes on a Page’s question
  • Checks into a place
  • Uses an app or plays a game
  • Likes or shares a website

Sponsored Stories force marketers to be more creative, more relevant, and drive engagement. If you aren’t pushing out content that is extremely relevant, people will ignore it.

In-House Case Study
Jon’s own company, SIM Partners, ran a Sponsored Story campaign with an ad spend of about $3,000, over a three week span, and were able to see a 3.65% CTR through social. Bottom line, Jon and his company saw a significant increase in people talking about their company Page and in overall viral activity.

Sponsored Stories help you to better communicate with your audience when you are pushing out content worthy of engagement. Be strategic… always.

Now let’s take a look at traditional Facebook Ads. Jon brought up Target’s “Give With Target” campaign as a proper example of using Facebook Ads right. He saw one of his friends liked the Page on the right hand side of his feed. From there, Jon clicked to see what it was all about. This brought him to the app on Facebook with a clear Call-To-Action: “Help us give up to 2.5 million in support of schools.”

The Page was easy to interact with, gave the ability to share, and was clear and concise. After Jon engaged with the page, his friends could now see it, he could have it live on his own tool bar, and every time he went back to the page, he could vote (once a week). Now Jon could share with his friends and encourage them to vote. If he got enough likes or shares would be able to win gift cards for his own children’s school – brings in the local aspect nicely.

So what are Jon’s Key Takeaways for Facebook?

  • Focus on engagement rather than just likes
  • Social media drives discovery of content that can influence transactions and sharing
  • Social media and content are influencers that drive search queries
  • KPIs – hybrid between CPC (Search/Direct Response) and CPM (Display/Branding)
  • Implement tools and technologies that allow you to track “cross channel attribution,” so social gets credit

Remember, you have to nurture your audience and you need to be more strategic.

Google+ Local: Social Signals and Search
This venue is A LOT more relevant today that it was a year ago. Here are some statistics to help give you a visual of why that is.

  • 75% of the Top 100 brands are now on Google+
  • The Top 10 big brands on Google+ have a total of 9.2 million fans combined
  • Of those with Google+ pages, 30% have these pages display in search results for their brand name
  • Total unique visitors to Google+ in the U.S. went from 15.2 million in November 2011 to 27.7 million in June of this year, marking an increase of 82%
  • Internationally, Google+ visits rose 66% from 66.7 million to 110.7 million

Google wants to better understand a searchers’ interests and how we share information across the web. Surprise, surprise.

Personalized search results are search results geared toward the searcher based on past searches or web history (you do not have to be signed in to Google to receive these results). Search results that are tailored to the searcher based on Google+ pages you or your friends have circled are pages shared with you by your friends, Google+ posts from people you know and content that is only visible to you such as private photos (you do have to be signed into Google in order to view these results).

Key takeaways for Google+:

  • Larger Google+ circles = greater visibility through personalized search results
  • When activity from social circles or +1’s are displayed next to an organic listing, click through rates (CTR) have been shown to improve by 10-20%
  • When +1 activity is displayed next to paid search ads CTR have improved by 5-10%, according to Google

Here are some interesting facts about Google+ & Rankings…

  • Increasing the number of Google+ Business Page followers yielded the biggest change in ranking position according to the Testing Social Signals study.
  • Increasing Google +1 votes observed the second largest ranking position change.

It is important to note that the merge between Google+ Business PLUS Google+ Local is coming. Google+ Local will have the same social capabilities as a Google+ Business Page such as hangouts, sharing to circles, photos, videos, wall posts and more. Once merged, your Google+ Local page will no longer operate like a static listing…

Do you want your Google+ Local Page to rank high in organic search results? Then make sure you actively manage and update it!

Want to verify your business as part of the merge? Then check out the Google+ Business/Local Merge Verification Process at

  • If you have 5-10 locations and are actively involved online then it makes sense for you to do so.
  • If you have thousands upon thousands of locations, it may be more difficult to mange.

The ultimate battle continued with Apple vs. Google!

  • Apple is dropping Google Maps.
  • Apple wants to drop Google Maps with iOS 6, with Siri Maps speculated to launch this Fall, which will provide a 3D map functionality.
  • Apple is not only disconnecting it’s native iOS 6 Maps app from Google’s servers, but it will also redirect all third party map requests to its’ own mapping services.

This is kind of a big deal, people. Why? Because Google maps will no longer carry the real estate they once did, and Apple will slowly but surely take over more and more share. Apple also plans to partner more closely with Yelp. NOTED.

Apple has a search engine and it’s name is Siri. They just changed the traditional search engine and made it a conversation. Welcome to the future. With this new Apple map app, Siri will expand it’s feature set to provide more extensive support for looking up locations and providing directions to them.

Tactics for Siri Search

  • Include keywords about your business
  • Optimize your business – the higher your ranking on the search engines, the better chances of Siri locating your business during reach
  • Be specific about your products and services – this is SES 101. If you sell shirts, do you sell t-shirts, blouses, and what designers?
  • Create a mobile optimized site – Siri likes mobile sites!
  • Data integrity – Every detail about your business must be consistent across directories and ACCURATE
  • Siri’s Review System: Reviews Count! – Siri uses a ranking system based on business reviews when deciding what to give the consumer – Yelp, anyone? Bueller? 🙂

What’s ahead for social marketing and marketing automation? Will they join forces? Jon chose quotes from Chuck Schaeffer’s CRM article titled A Marketing Software Convergence on the Horizon, to best explain:

  • “Social marketing is another digital marketing tool that will soon become commonplace with more popular marketing automation systems, channels and methods such as digital lead tracking, website landing pages, email marketing and SEO.”
  • “But more interestingly, this may be the marketing technique that bridges and then converges marketing automation software and social marketing solutions into a single solution set that drives even more growth together than they garner apart.”

A great way to wrap up – thank you, Jon. Next up it was Brian’s turn to take the stage to talk to the crowd about Online Social Local Business Search.

Brian started out by running through an online social local business search study his company Localeze conducted, along with 15 Miles with the help of ComScore. Here are some interesting takeaways from that study.

  • The use of social sites for local business searches has increased nearly 3 times since 2008- Facebook is most frequently used to find local business information. 91 percent are doing local search on Facebook!
  • Individuals who primarily use social sites for local search conduct searches frequently – 35% perform local business searches on social sites daily – very interesting!
  • What are people looking for? The majority of local searches using social sites across the company page – users are less likely to rely on mentions of local businesses from connections than they were a year ago. Now more than ever you need to make sure you are taking a holistic approach when implementing an online strategy.
  • However, social network local business users are still heavily engaged in social aspects of local business search through profound usage and contribution to consumer review sites.
  • What are they looking for? What is it they are most interested in? Local business searchers are finding more helpful consumer ratings/reviews and promos during their local business search.
    • Make sure your contact info (business name, address and phone number especially) are all correct and consistent across the board.
    • Search engines take baseline information from places like Yelp, Facebook, etc. and link it up with other information.
    • If your stuff is not correct you will lose potential customers.

6 Social Local Tips to Increase Visibility

1)     Leverage your current online identity – Social plug-ins are all embedded into sites. Join the conversation. Business owners might not even know it is occurring. Not good! Cover the basics and online business identity online is up-to-date.

2)     Create local Facbeook Fan Pages – A lot of missed opportunities if you don’t. Obviously is it not easy if have 500 different locations but a lot of companies are doing it and are seeing a lot of success from their efforts. Leverage integration between search engines and Facebook. The benefits of doing so? Local photos, more relevant information for your audience, able to generate more likes than if you had just on corporate Page, contact information is listed (and correct), it’s useable for your fans, you can add different local events throughout the year, etc. Local Facebook Pages are another way to drive traffic to your brand and business listing. More and more people are looking for dynamic content on the web. A local Facebook link on a search engine like Bing can help to do that.

3)     Ensure your business identities are consistent across all channels. This can help leverage FREE opportunities. NAP TIME! (Name, address, phone number.)

4)     Embed social media plug-ins on websites.

5)     Consider other social plug-ins. Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare and Foodspotting (makes perfect sense for a restaurant!). If you are getting a lot of traffic on these sites, then why not add apps to your site?

6)     Utilize all forms of social media. Look at what category your business is in and match it up to appropriate social media sites (Foodspotting, YouTube – there are a lot of professionals out there generating videos of their offices, practices, etc.) embed that information on your website. Be sure to research other opportunities that are relevant to your business.

And that will about do it folks. Feeling a little better about social and local and how it can benefit your business? We sure hope so. Thanks to Jon & Brian for providing a lot of helpful, practical tactics for everyone to take home. Stick around for more live coverage of day three of #SESSF from @gretchenegeberg!

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stay Connected