Yes, your business is online. You have a website, you’re active on social media platforms, you make sure Google knows about you, you’re listed on the right review sites and you’re tapped into the right search sites for the business you’re in.
Yes, but. For each of those places where you can be found, there’s a right way to present your business. That’s your online business profile. Take a look at some key tips to create and optimize your business profile, so your company can be found by potential, current and returning customers, while boosting your brand credibility and building trust.
There are many benefits to having profiles for your small business on the main social media platforms. Generally, these are considered to be Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. (Depending on your industry and target audience, you may be looking into others such as Snapchat and Pinterest as well.)
Creating profiles on these sites is free, simple and often comes with the ability to view analytics that can offer helpful insights about your followers. The exact steps for creating a business page will depend on the respective platform, but in general, you should expect to include:
- A profile picture (can be your company’s logo or brand name)
- A link to your website
- Location and contact info
- A short bio that explains what your business is about
Bonus points if you make your bio attention grabbing and sharp. After all, social media is a great place to let your brand’s personality shine through content—whether words, visuals or multimedia.
Once you create a profile, you can move forward with a plan for consistent social media posting. If you or your team members don’t have the bandwidth to manage these accounts super frequently, simply posting once every few weeks or so and periodically checking to make sure all of your profile info is still up to date and accurate is a great start.
Google My Business
Most small businesses have a physical location, whether it’s a company headquarters or a storefront. Because of this, it’s wise to claim a Google My Business (GMB) profile. GMB is a free service where companies and organizations manage their online presence on Google Maps and the search engine results page. It’s a way for people to quickly learn more about your business when they look you up on Google or search for your type of business.
Your GMB page—not your website—can potentially be the first impression you make when your business appears in someone’s search results. Because of this, you want to be sure your business listing is as complete as possible. This goes beyond simply having your address, phone number and most relevant industry category listed.
An optimized profile should also include:
- High-quality interior and exterior photos of your business
- Hours of operation (if applicable)
- A contact email
- Your website URL
- An accurate, high-level description
GMB allows businesses to post blog-like updates, so customers can stay in the loop about any important developments, announcements or events. It’s also a place where customers can leave the all-important ratings and reviews.
Online reviews can make or break your business. In fact, online product reviews can increase its conversion rate by more than 270%, according to Spiegel Research Center.
For this reason and more, it’s wise to be aware of all the review sites where your business has an online business listing. There may be some you’re not even aware of, as customers can review a business even if that business hasn’t officially claimed its profile. So take the time to do the research.
Similar to the above guidelines, you’ll want to periodically check that your review site profiles are accurate, thorough and up to date. While doing this, you can also take the time to respond to any new reviews, whether positive or negative. After all, as Yext points out, being aware of your customers’ online feedback can help you improve your business. And responding to reviews demonstrates your commitment to customer service.
Other industry-specific profiles
Once you’ve covered all the main bases for online profiles, you can begin looking into more niche industry websites. Depending on your business, you may want to have profiles on sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and G2.
One thing to note: Different online profile destinations have their own unique profile requirements, processes and guidelines, so make sure that, as you update and build out your profile, you’re adhering to any stated policies or guidelines.
It may feel overwhelming to see your business represented on various third-party sites across the web. But the level of exposure and credibility online business profiles can bring to your business makes keeping up with them well worth the effort.
By knowing where your business has a presence online, ensuring these sites are sharing accurate information that you create yourself and monitoring what others are saying about your business, you can be better set up to grow your reach and remain competitive with others in your industry.