What is a “digital presence”? The sum of all your online interactions and business information––your conversations and profiles on social media, online press releases, blog posts, comments you make on other sites on behalf of the business, your business website, search results and SEO efforts… all of these parts of your digital marketing strategy come together to form your digital presence. A part of that presence, your online listings and anything relative to your business location, is considered your local digital presence. For instance:
- Directory listings (Google My Business, Google Maps, etc.)
- Social profiles and store pages
- Business website
- Customer reviews (Yelp, Google, etc.)
Why is local digital presence important?
73% of consumers lose trust in a local business when they find incorrect info about that business online (search engine watch).
If someone is looking for you (or a business like yours) in your area, they expect you and your competition to appear at the top of online search results or listed on a map like the one below. Your local online presence plays a vital role in how (or if) you appear in these results.
Let’s say you run a hardware store called Davidson Lock & Key, and Bill searched for “get keys made near me” on his phone. If your store is anywhere near Bill, you want to make sure your store appears in his search results.
To avoid confusion, your information listed in all these places should also be consistent and accurate. Notice in the listings in the example show how late each store is open? What if Davidson Lock & Key was only open until 7pm but Bill was planning on stopping by your store at 7:30? Bill thinks your store will still be open for another hour.
If Bill is peering through your glass door wondering where everyone is and why he can’t get his key made, he probably won’t be back. And those 23 reviews will soon become 24 (and that 24th review probably won’t be a good one).
How do I manage my local digital presence?
A giant ‘ecosystem’ of maps, directories, review sites and search results exists and it all impacts the way consumers see and learn about your business. If you have multiple locations this should be done for each physical location.
It sounds overwhelming. How are you supposed to know how all these things show up online and how on earth are you going to check and edit them all? Sometimes it just seems like Google knows everything and our “stuff” magically appears on search results and maps. Often, yes… some of the work you do online does help you get noticed, but having a plan to manage your local online presence will help ensure none the existing online information works against you.
To make things sound even more daunting, it’s not a “set it and forget it” kind of task. This takes regular maintenance. The good news… many businesses don’t take the time to do this so those of you who actually do take care in your listings are the ones that rise to the top (of search)!
There are several ways to manage your local listings:
- Going to each directory, map, and review site to fix your information is tedious and, let’s not kid ourselves, it’s a pain in the butt and we’d never get it done.
- Use one of several online tools to help monitor and manage your online listing(s). This typically costs a monthly or annual fee and you do it yourself. (Consider the cost of the tool plus the cost of your time.)
- “Set it and forget it” by letting someone else do it for you. Companies (ours included) can manage your online presence and even make additional recommendations to help grow your business. This is often more cost-effective and you know it’s done right.
Bottom line: If foot traffic is critical to your business success, maintaining an accurate and consistent online local presence is essential.