yelp small business

How Business Owners Can Take A “Vacation” From Social Media

As a business owner, you’re probably no stranger to considering how the day-to-day of your business will run while you’re on vacation.

Since summer is in full swing and you may have a well-deserved vacation coming up, I wanted to make sure you also accounted for the day-to-day management of your business’s social media channels.

While it is possible to take a break from your business’s social media during your vacation, some planning and preparation will definitely help you do so more successfully than if you were to just unplug “out-of the-blue,"

Here are my top 5 tips for taking a “summer vacation” from your business’s social media.

Make time to prepare beforehand.

Once your business is up and running with social media, day-to-day management can be done in about 10 minutes per day. So, you shouldn’t have too much trouble making a little extra time for “social media activities” in the week(s) leading up to your vacation.

Putting this time on your calendar will set you up to successfully complete all the other tips in this post, so your social media will be working for your while you’re enjoying some offline R&R.

Use scheduling tools to your advantage.

If you’re taking a vacation (or going on maternity leave, or just feel like taking a sabbatical), get familiar with a few of the free and paid social media scheduling tools. These make it possible for you to personally take a break from social, without your business having to take a break too.

Here are a few of my great scheduling tools:

  • Good: HootSuite

  • Better: Buffer

  • Best: Edgar

With these tools, your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn can keep running without you having to lift a finger.

Instagram is slightly tricker. You can still schedule posts in advance, you’ll just get a notification on your phone at the time you scheduled. Then, with a couple taps, the post content will open in Instagram and you’ll be able to publish it in about 20 seconds.

Avoid “total” automation mode.

Be cautious of automating several of your channels together. By this I mean that when you post on one channel, it automatically pushed content out on another channel.

For example, people do this all the time when they post something to Instagram and at the same time share it on Facebook. And a lot of people have their Facebook posts set to be automatically posted to Twitter.

That type of regurgitation ends up looking unprofessional and lazy. Especially since these posts will often include content that isn’t properly formatted for the specific channel where it’s posting.

Create content in advance for all the channels you use, so they’ll remain active, with engaging content, while you’re on vacation.

Determine who will represent your business online.

Just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your audience is too. They’ll want to keep engaging, so don’t just leave them high-and-dry.

If you’re available to look at your social media platforms during your break, schedule a little bit of time to do so. During that time focus on responding to comments, mentions, messages and reviews.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) check in, I recommend designating someone to do this on your behalf.

Consider hiring social media pro.

If you want absolute peace of mind, or if you want your social media audience to grow in  your absence, working with a professional social media manager is going to be your best bet.

 This person can keep an eye on your channels, post live, engage with your audience and even grow your following -- all while you’re totally relaxed and completely unplugged.

 Want to leave your social media in good hands while you’re on your next vacation, let’s chat.

 And be sure to grab my free Social Media Vacation Planning Guide to help you make sure you’ve got all your online bases covered the next time to need/want to unplug.

 Get it free here, in my resource library.

Facebook Advertising Goals For Local Businesses

One assumption I hear often among local business owners is that Facebook advertising (or social media advertising, in general) only works for online-based businesses.

I’m here to put an end to that assumption -- because it’s simply not the case.

Thanks to its amazing targeting capabilities, Facebook advertising is one of the best marketing tools modern businesses can use whether it’s an online business, local establishment, or otherwise.

In this post, I’ll show you how local businesses can approach Facebook advertising to get the best possible results.

If you want to dive deeper into specific advertising goals that align with your overall business goals, be sure to grab your free download of my “Local Business Goal Setting Guide For FB Ads” here.

Level 1 Goal: Increase brand awareness.

If your mission is to make sure more people know your business exists, you can target a larger local audience, and audiences in neighboring areas.

You can create ads that people are more likely to share so that you end up in more people’s feeds without paying more.

Since Facebook Ads are a great marketing tool to help you reach a variety of business goals, even when you’re marketing for a specific product launch, or to promote a new location, or to grow your list of leads, etc., you’ll be building brand awareness by default during every single campaign.

Level 2 Goal: Grow an engaged local audience.

Overall on Facebook, your business needs to be engaging and it needs to have a purpose at all times on social media.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know I’m always encouraging you to create and post things that your audience will find valuable. The same goes for ad content.

A big mistake I see businesses make all the time is running a boring ad. You can’t just slap a stock photo into an ad and write a few lines of bland, sales-y copy and call it a day.

Make sure you’ve got a reason you’re running your ad and then think about how the ad content aligns with the purpose behind it.

Level 3 Goal: Get more people in your door.

Having the ability to zero in on and target your exact, ideal audience is incredibly powerful when you want people to take action.

Simply being on Facebook and posting a few times a week won’t immediate get people running through your door. But ads can certainly help with this.

For example, you could run an ad with a special promotion for an in-store offer. You can even collect leads directly inside Facebook ads and then follow up with those leads later to invite them to check out your business.

Which goal will your business be focused on with Facebook advertising?

Let me know in the comments, or feel free to reach out so I can help you come up with a Facebook advertising strategy that’s aligned with your most important business goals.

Click here to contact me.

If you want to dive deeper into specific advertising goals that align with your overall business goals, be sure to grab your free download of my “Local Business Goal Setting Guide For FB Ads” here.

Yelp For Small Businesses: The Top 10 Do's & Don'ts

It’s no secret that Yelp is still one of the most popular rating and review sites/apps. But if you’re a small business owner who hasn’t taken a much time to “deal with” establishing or maintaining a presence on Yelp, you’re not alone.

The site is tricky enough to figure out all on its own -- not to mention, there’s hardly any information out there about what you can do to improve your presence on the site.

Still, millions of people use the site each and every day to search for small businesses and service providers they can trust. And since I help busy business owners establish and maintain successful Yelp pages each and every day, I know that dedicating even a little bit of time to your presence on the site have a big impact.

That’s why in this post I’m sharing my top 10 Yelp do’s and don’ts. This fluff-free guide is all you need to start using Yelp’s platform to stand out from your competition and grow your business.

  • Do: Activate your Yelp page

I’m always surprised by how many small business owners aren’t even aware of their presence on the site. I talk more about navigating the basics here.

  • Do: Fill out all the information on your Yelp page

On your business page, there’s a lot of basic information that should be filled out. Everything including your address, phone number, website and hours need to be up to date and available for people searching the site.

  • Do: Add photos to your Yelp page

It’s important to add a few different photos for a few different reasons. The types of photos you should add will vary depending on your business, but generally you’ll want to include an exterior photo so people know when they’ve arrived at the right location, an interior photo so people know what type of experience to expect, and a photo of happy employees and/or customers.

  • Do: Ask happy customers for reviews

Whenever a happy customer expresses their satisfaction with anything related to your business, it’s always ok to ask them to leave a positive review. After all, the worst thing they could do is say no.

  • Do: Follow up via email with customers who review your business on Yelp

If you can, verbally ask customers to review your business on Yelp. Later, check to see if they’ve left a review and send them a Thank You email.

  • Don’t: Ask customers to write reviews while they’re at your place of business

Yelp tracks the origin of each review to make sure it's authentic. They do this so that it’s more difficult for dishonest businesses to write a bunch of false reviews under different accounts. A “side effect” of this precaution is that Yelp will tend to flag even legitimate reviews if people leave them on their mobile devices while they’re at your location.

  • Don’t: Offer incentives for positive reviews

This is a violation of Yelp’s Terms of Service and could cause you to be banned from the site.

  • Don’t: Get defensive in response to negative reviews

I know it’s tempting, but don’t delete them either. Even responding or deleting totally awful or false reviews will only add fuel to the fire. Respond to all reviews, and thank people for their feedback. In the end, this is how you win on Yelp.

  • Do: Feature Yelp on your website and other marketing material

The more people know that you’re active on Yelp, the more likely you are to get good reviews on the site,

  • Do: Cross-promote your Yelp page on social media sites

Businesses can share Yelp reviews on their other social media sites. Sharing the occasional screenshot of positive Yelp reviews on Facebook or Instagram is an easy way to show that you get love and support from your customers.

Become an actively engaged business on Yelp and start using this popular review platform to set you apart from your competitors.

Need help with Yelp? Let me show you how valuable it can be for your business