Colorado Springs SEO Workshop
Social media, cyber security, Ecommerce websites: these are just a few of the modern day technology platforms that small businesses utilize every day in order to reach their customers. Having an online presence is a must for start-up business in today’s time, as it gives business owners an entirely new route to engage and sell to their audience. But as promising as the online world is, it can be incredibly daunting to many local business owners to do business digitally.
Questions like, “How do I make sure that my website is secure?”, “Do I need social media accounts for my small business?”, “What is SEO?” and so many more concerns were all addressed during CSBJ’s 2017 Business May workshop.
“Online Reputation Management: Crafting Your Public Perception” was hosted at The Warehouse, a rustic, high-end restaurant located in Downtown Colorado Springs right off I-25. The West Cimarron Street location brought in organizations, business owners, and entrepreneurs from all over the Springs, including the Better Business Bureau, the Colorado Springs Business Journal, and our own company, Classy Brain.
Craig Mount, founder of Classy Brain, was one of the selected panelists to speak at this event, bringing his own expertise on Search Engine Optimization and how creating an online presence can allow more people to find your business, find your website, and be converted into a customer. Kristin Murphy, the Business Development Manager at Technowledge, and Lauren Hug, owner of HugSpeak Consulting, joined Mount at the podium to talk about how having an online platform for your small business is vital to success.
The panelists all agreed that it can be difficult to start doing business over technology, as opposed to communicating with customers only at your brick-and-motor store, but the times are changing. People want to engage with your business. Social media and SEO allow you to do that.
What is SEO?
“SEO,” Mount began, “at its essence, is optimizing for Google, Bing and Apple Maps.” When people do internet searches for things like “Dentists in Colorado Springs” or “Car repair company near me,” you want your business to be on the first page. The more people who see the link to your site, the higher the chance that they will become a customer.
Does Social Media Matter for Small Businesses in Colorado Springs?
Other topics that were discussed in the Downtown Colorado Springs venue, included how to best use your social media accounts as a small business owner and how reviews can positively (or negatively) impact your business in terms of online reputation.
Hug joined in the conversation, stating that “Using social networks is a great way to show up high in SEO results.” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, among others, are a great way to increase your digital presence, “So you have more places where people can find you.”
Posting to social media does not mean that you have to be artificial or stuffy either. You don’t have to constantly be selling to people. Be honest and be human—something that Hug spoke very passionately about.
“I’m a fan of being human as much as possible,” she said, then told us stories about how she used her business Facebook page to post about parking garage issues. She argued that doing normal, human things made people connect more to her business.
Do Reviews Matter for SEO?
Another important factor to both SEO and digital presence, is checking the reviews that people post about your business. Whether it is through Yelp, Facebook, Google, or other review platforms, reviews carry a tremendous amount of weight when it comes to your search engine rank, as well as how your customers perceive you.
Mount urged the audience to get into the habit of checking your reviews yourself (along with monitoring your social media channels and your rank as well). This, he said, will help you, as the business owner, to fully understand where your business is at, what you’re doing right, and what you need to do better.
This digital age is something that everyone needs to jump on board with, even local business owners in Colorado and beyond. Digital marketing is a great investment that can thrust your business into potential customers’ line of sight. Making yourself visible online is the first step into growing your small business to the next level.