This is the first in this series of posts about establishing your digital business identity. I’m going to outline what it takes, what it is, and why your business needs one.
If you’ve set up your business on the first two items in the table of contents below, you have a digital identity; congratulations. Adding a website to any of these channels makes a big difference, I’ll go into that later in this post.
This is not an exhaustive list and there is a notable exception; YouTube. I’ll cover that and others in other dedicated posts soon.
Being on the first two channels makes it possible for someone searching for your business name, or the service you offer to find you and give you some business. Being on more than the first two channels increases our reach into new markets.
When one of your customers or potential customers looks for you online, you want them to find you without looking too hard. If they can’t find you or your service online; you have zero chance of getting the business. Even worse, you make it easy for a competitor to walk away with your potential customer.
Don’t make it too easy for your competition to take business from you. Be there with an up-to-date Google listing.
Google is the new phone book on steroids!
I have a client and he’s a builder. Most of his jobs are worth thousands of dollars. Often his customers will look him up on Google, even though he’s done work for them in the past. They don’t look him up on the phone book, or Yellow Pages; they look him up on Google.
- Google is the new phone book, but it does a far better job for you and your customers.
- Your free Google My Business Listing (GMB) lists you on Google and shows the locations you work in, or the location of your business.
- Your GMB listing can display your excellent reputation with customer reviews. Reviews are helpful to new customers; whom are often more interested in what your past customers have to say about your service than what you have to say about yourself.
Here’s an example of how a Google listing can help your business
You have signage on your vehicle. Someone drives past and notices you provide a service they want, but they can’t take down your number because they’re driving. When they get home, they search for you on Google and when they do; they don’t look for your phone number, because the odds they’ve remembered that are slim. They will most likely remember your business name and search for that.
Google Next Steps
- Search for your business name and the town your business is in. (Joe Bloggs Carpentry Nambucca Heads), without the brackets.
- Check that you have access to your listing; if one already exists. When you find your listing, you need to check you have access so you can make changes, etc.
- If you’re not listed, you’ll find links to setting up your Google My Business listing at the end of this post.
In regional Australia, Facebook is very popular. Even in the small town where I live, there aren’t many in the population without a Facebook account; that’s why your business needs to be on it.
Facebook is easily Australia’s most widely used Social Network early in 2019 with over 17.1 million Australians aged 14+ (83%) visiting Facebook in an average four weeks, an increase of almost 4.2 million (+32.4%) from four years ago according to the latest research from Roy Morgan.1Roy Morgan Research
Let’s say one of your customers wants to recommend you. This often happens on Facebook. Someone asks for recommendations on a service or product, and if you have a Facebook Business page, the person making the recommendation can post a link to your page in their comment.
Businesses with a digital identity (Facebook page and/or website) are the most noticeable. This also gives your potential customer something to check out by visiting your Facebook page and website.
Setup properly; you can answer most of their questions before they even contact you. Now who doesn’t want to deal with someone like that. It shows you know what you are doing; you’re professional and organised.
Here are a couple of examples showing how much more impact a recommendation with a Facebook page has.
The other thing that can make a big difference, is how many recommendations you have on your Facebook page? This shows up when someone shares your Facebook page. Populate your Facebook Page with as many recommendations as you can.
Notice on the image above, Facebook will show how many people have recommended your service/product.
Facebook next steps
- Check you have filled in as much information, including service details on your Facebook Business Page, and it is up-to-date and accurate.
- Add a cover image and a profile image.
- In the about section, add your business name, and the location/s you service and your main service details. This gets picked up by Google and listed in search results.
- Add the recommendations tab to your business page and get as many as you can.
Don’t be too quick to discount Instagram. At the latest count, 9.7 million Aussies are on this social media platform2. They’re not all kids either. I know plenty of people over the age of 55 that use Instagram. More women seem to use it than men, so if your market is predominantly woman—it’s a no-brainer.
- Think about who calls to enquire about your service: is it a man or a woman?
- Does your business have a visual aspect to it, or is your service or product visually appealing; if so, Instagram could be a good fit.
- You can link your Facebook account with Instagram, so when you post on Facebook it will also post on Instagram.
- Instagram is typically for people under the age of 40, but not in all markets and all cases.
- Statistics on the demographics at the end of this post.
Pinterest, just like Instagram, is great if your product/service is aesthetically pleasing and woman are the ones deciding to buy your product, or engage with your service, Pinterest could be a significant source of new business. You’ll find links at the end of this post for setting up a Pinterest Business Account.
The last piece of the puzzle for your digital identity is your own business website. The reason it is so powerful is that it’s so versatile.
Connect your website to your:
- Social media profiles.
- Google My Business Listing and maps.
- Extend all your advertising by adding your website address (www).
Social media is great for getting eyeballs on your services and products, but it’s not good for keeping interest for long, as your viewer gets distracted by the next notification.
The trick is to get them off your social media channel as soon as possible and onto your website where you have a structured list of services/products that lead them to your desired action of making a call, enquiry, sale or directions to your businesses front door.
- Google is the new phonebook, people will search for you on Google. Set up your Google My Business Listing; it’s free!
- Fill in as much information as you can on Google and Facebook and check that it’s up-to-date and accurate.
- Setup an Instagram Business Account, if you haven’t already.
- Your website is the anchor point for all your digital channels, and it’s where business gets done.
- Sign up for Google My Business.
- Claim an existing Google listing.
- Watch this video explaining the 3 Major Benefits of a Google My Business listing for service based businesses and Tradies.
- Follow the instructions on this page to set up a Template for a service based business on Facebook.
- Facebook’s help information on changing your Facebook Business Page template