Social Media's Importance In Online Search Tools

Here is an article that was just published on Radio Sales today.  Driven Media Solutions has been preaching to our clients of the importance to dominate YOUR BUSINESSES NAME on the Search Engines.  We always talk about how pages like Facebook, Linkedin & Twitter are influencing buying decisions and searches.  The first sentence tells a GREAT story About 45% of consumers don’t have a specific business in mind when conducting a local search online”.  So, aprox 55% of consumers search with a SPECIFIC company or brand in mind.  YOU BETTER OWN YOUR NAME ONLINE!  This is exactly what we’ve been telling our customers for 2 years!


Mobile and Social Dominating Local Search’

About 45% of consumers don’t have a specific business in mind when conducting a local search online. In fact, more local business searchers begin with general keyword terms in search queries. They have products and services in mind, but they are not sure where to make the purchase, according to a study released this week from 15miles, the local, mobile and social marketing arm of TMP Directional Marketing.

On the other hand, 56% of social and 60% of mobile users are more likely to search with specific businesses in mind because they are already outside the home looking for a nearby business to fill a need. The study points to a lack of sophisticated search functions in social networks for the differences.

This year’s 15miles Fourth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study identifies the power of local, mobile and social search among consumers. The study confirms that 70% of survey respondents view search engines, online Yellow Pages or social networks as their primary sources of local business information.

Search engine queries continued to increase at a strong rate with 9% year-over-year growth. Non-search engine queries such as Facebook and craigslist rose 22%, off a smaller base, to capture more than one-third of total query volume. This also impacts local. Of the 9% of local business searchers who use social networks, 93% said they use Facebook to find information on local business.

Most research today focuses on where searches happen, but this study looks at where sales occur. Google, Bing, Facebook and Twitter are just a sample of the major players to enhance local search features in the past year. It also examines how to make sense of consumers’ changing behaviors across various media types, and what impact search trends have on the bottom line.

By measuring consumer behavior and the impact on decisions, the study reveals insights that are necessary to influence marketers’ search strategies. Key factors include:

Trend 1: Online search is the preferred method for information about local businesses, with 70% of consumers citing online sites as their primary source.

Trend 2: Search engines are most popular, but they are not growing as fast as other media.

Trend 3: Local searchers are more apt to buy.

Trend 4: Businesses must develop a comprehensive search presence with essential information.

Trend 5: To develop a complete search presence, local businesses must consider every avenue.

Trend 6: Print is declining, but it still holds value for today’s consumers as a secondary source.

Trend 7: With emerging media on the rise, a diverse media mix must now include social and mobile marketing.

Consumers who use social networks and mobile smartphones are more likely to use and write reviews. More than 40% have submitted between two and five reviews in the past 30 days. In fact, 78% of social networkers — up 3% from the prior year — and 71% of mobile users — up 9% from the prior year — consider consumer ratings and reviews important in making their purchase selections.

Of those participating in the survey, 81% believe it’s important for local businesses to respond to questions and complaints on social sites; 78% want special offers, promotions and information about events; and 66% believe that company photos are important.

(Source: Online Media Daily, 10/03/10)

Top Five Ways to Increase Sales with Social Media

Lewis Howes
Lewis Howes

It seems like every second article you read today is about social media. How it can build your brand, help you connect with your customers and keep your business ‘current’. But it’s hard to sign off an investment of time and money to something that’s relying solely on the long-tail for returns, right?

Sure, social media can seem like a time-suck waiting to happen; but Sony executives weren’t complaining when they cleared $1.5 million in sales on Twitter. Or Dell; who revealed their Twitter presence accounted for a $3 million increase in sales in 2009.

Social media can, in fact, build upon your online sales effort. You just gotta get it right.

1. Word of Mouth Like a Wild Fire

Getting people to tell their friends about your product or service is the golden ticket. People trust their friends to give them recommendations, and the rise of online social networking means customers are more likely than ever to tell the world about their purchase; and spread it further too.

Work the viral angle – offer a limited offer or special promotion through Twitter or Facebook, and let your followers spread the word for you. Remember, a hot giveaway is perfect to get retweets and perhaps a few new followers; but if you want sales, a discount will drive it home.

2. Unprecedented Interaction

Marketing your product or service through TV, print or radio can leave customers feeling like they’re being marketed to. The beauty of social media is the fact that it’s based on the premise of being a social activity; so users feel at ease, and comfortable conversing with you. The key is to start conversations in a non-threatening way; don’t force yourself on people, and stay true to the social aspect of the platforms. Be the guy everyone wants to talk to at a party, built trust and loyalty *first* with your followers and friends and you’ll get a better result when it comes to promoting your product.

3. Global Domination from your Computer

Tapping into Facebook and Twitter’s 600 million strong combined user base means that you have more promotional reach at your fingertips that you’d probably ever thought was possible.
The sky’s the limit when marketing through social media and that means sales can reach new heights – but it doesn’t come automatically.

You’ll need to build up your following, and there’s a number of things you can do to help up your count:
Start promoting your Twitter and Facebook profiles on your other marketing, on and offline.
Use keywords as search terms to find Twitter users that are already talking about what you’re selling; then follow them to get a follow back.
Use Facebook ads to drive people to your fan page.
Encourage new followers by promoting a giveaway: ‘Follow us for the chance to win…’ or ‘Retweet this to go into the draw for…’

4. Mix Social with your Sales Team

Gone are the days of the dry email after a networking event or sales call. ‘Lovely to meet you, I wanted to remind you of our amazing offer…’ Now, your sales team have a new tool at their disposal. Social media is fantastic for building relationships; just search for your sales leads name in Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, and connect, to continue the conversation in a friendly; unobtrusive way. By connecting with potential customers online in this way, you’ll have an opportunity every day to pop up on their desktop.

5. Communication and Traffic Boosting Tool

Social media is just another form of communication. It offers more than many traditional marketing avenues, but if nothing else – it’s a new audience to tap into. Twitter and Facebook offer you the opportunity to communicate offers, announcements and news, and of course, drive traffic back to your website; ultimately, increasing sales. Promote away!

Lewis Howes is a former professional athlete, world record holder in football, and author of the LinkedIn book, LinkedWorking. He is the founder of the Sports Executives Association, and the popular sports and social media blog He writes for popular social media blogs such as,, and  You can find him on Twitter @LewisHowes.

You're at the Prom…Ask her to dance!

Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant
Matt Plapp - Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky Marketing & Social Media Consultant

You just did all the work and successfully convinced a consumer to come to your store…NOW WHAT.  In-store marketing is the easiest and most cost effective marketing available. One of the business categories that should be using it more than others are restaurants. I usually eat out 8-10 times per week with clients and the family. About 3 months ago I decided I was going to keep track of what restaurants where doing to capture their clients information. Why, well it’s simple, there are 3 basic hurdles in marketing:

1. The clients need to know WHO you are.
2. The clients need to know WHERE you are.
3. They need to BUY from you.

So if I’m a business that relies on repeat business, like a restaurant, then capturing my customers information is a MUST. I’m sorry and happy to report that I came across 2 in 3 months, yes 2 out of aprox 75 restaurants actually had a way of capturing their customers contact information by a texting program, social media promotion or frequent customer card. I say happy because that’s what my company, Driven Media Solutions, does for small businesses.

I was recently at a very good 1 location pizzeria in Florence, Kentucky. The owner and I were meeting about their marketing. As we talked I noticed 5 groups of customers who dined and left. I asked the owner if she knew them, she said “no”. I then asked does she want them to come back (loaded question) and of course she said “yes”. So I asked why she made no effort to capture their info. She had no answer, she had never thought about it. Why was there not a table topper that said “text XYZ to 12345 for a chance to win a FREE lunch”. Or follow us on facebook for special offers, or have the waitress have them fill out a quick survey that offers 50% off their next meal and a frequent user’s card. EVERY customer who came in would text in to win. Most would follow on facebook and the vast majority would fill out the survey to get 50% of their next meal and a loyalty card. Everyone wants something for FREE. Once you capture their information you have just accomplished the largest part of the marketing mix. You have a list of customers who know WHO you are, WHERE you are and currently BUY from you. So when it’s time to do a coupon, sale or promotion you already have the hardest part covered. Would you rather send a B.O.G.O (buy one get one free) to 10,000 random people of which less than 1% will redeem it or send it to 1,000 current customers of which a large portion will come back for more.

Think about the texting and facebook opportunities. Imagine that the electric is out in a large part of your city (like Cincinnati in September 2008) and you have electric. You have done the work and have a text list of 1,000 local customers and a facebook fan page with 800 followers. You send out the following text or facebook message “Our electric is on and we want to help your family. Come up now for 25% off any meal and sit in our ice cold dining room”. Or it’s a Tuesday at 5pm and you have not had good traffic on Tuesdays so you send out “Buy 1 get 1 Free dinner”. You WILL get traffic and you are marketing 100% to your target market.

So to recap we just talked about the following items:
1. Capturing Your Customers Information
2. Texting Specials
3. Facebook
4. Customer Loyalty Cards
5. Creating a Customer Database of CURRENT CUSTOMERS

I know, right now you’re wondering, this will cost too much. WRONG, texting packages start at $99 per month, customer loyalty programs are basically small print jobs and facebook marketing is FREE if you do it yourself. And don’t just think this applies to a restaurant, everything I mentioned above would work for any type of business: Auto repair, clothing, office machines, apartment communities, etc. What’s expensive is letting known buyers walk out of your store without ever trying to get their information. At the same time you’re showing the customer that you really don’t care if they come back and that hurts your brand.

When I ask my customers about their brand I usually get a response targeted to their advertising. When in fact, I’m looking for a statement that defines their company and how the public relates to it. Uniforms, phone-answering, sales training, clean restrooms, trained employees, consistent company colors, clearly marked showrooms, in-store marketing and more importantly a staff that understands exactly what your brand is and how they are to carry that out in their job EVERY DAY.

Matt Plapp is a Marketing Consultant in Cincinnati Northern Kentucky the area specializing in small business marketing via grass-roots, events, guerilla, online and social media marketing. You can contact him at