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Due to the continued effects of COVID-19, conducting business online has become more important than ever. Thankfully, you don’t have to be too tech-savvy to set your business up for success in a digital world. Follow along to learn how you can establish an online presence from scratch.

Website

If you don’t already have a website, creating one is your first step. There are countless options that do not require outsourcing or knowledge of code. A few examples of drag-and-drop website builders are Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace. Each of these services offer a variety of themes/templates for different business types, and most website-builders will even provide a free domain name for 1 year! If you are more tech-savvy and are looking to build an e-commerce website, Shopify is another great option.

Website-builders have many different plans to choose from. If you would like to sell products from your new website, make sure to choose a plan that supports e-commerce.

SEO

Once your website is established, make sure that it can be easily found in search engine results. One great way to do this is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While there are many ways to improve your website’s SEO, some of the easiest are by simply adding highly-searched terms to your website through regularly updated content such as blog posts and meta descriptions, which are the descriptions listed after a Google search.

To look up frequently used terms to incorporate on your website, visit: https://trends.google.com/trends/?geo=US

You can also use tools like Google Search Console to analyze your website’s traffic and make changes to help its organic performance: https://search.google.com/search-console/about

Set up a Business Profile through Google My Business.

You may have noticed that when searching for a business on Google, a profile sometimes pops up with a business description, address, contact information, etc. That magic little feature is a Business Profile made via Google My Business. It’s quick and easy to set up a profile, so your customers can see your current store hours, reviews, or even visit your website to shop from home.

Click here to set up your Google Business Profile.

Claim (or Create) Your Business on Yelp

Yelp is a go-to source for many consumers looking to try something new – especially if they’re visiting from out of town. Similar to the Google Business Profile, you can keep updated hours and information about your business on your Yelp Profile.

Yelp also allows you to link delivery apps or allow customers to make reservations for your business through their platform.

Learn more about how Yelp can help your business by clicking here.

Social Media

Social media is one of the most popular ways to advertise and connect with the community. The best part is, it’s free! There are countless platforms to choose from, and while it may seem best to have one of everything, it’s important to do some research on your customers/target audience and find out which platforms they spend the most time on. Whatever those platforms are, that’s where you need to be most active; having a Twitter account doesn’t do much good if you aren’t tweeting regularly. Come up with a consistent schedule to post diverse content and engage with your audience on a regular basis. Doing so will help push your posts to your followers’ feeds and reach new potential customers.

NOTE: Remember to link your social media profiles to your website and always test them before making your page live!

Facebook is one of the most versatile social media platforms out there, and it also has one of the most sophisticated algorithms to determine which content is pushed to specific audiences. It’s important to post regularly on your Facebook Business Page, but make sure to space out your posts by at least an hour so that the measurement of your reach isn’t affected. List updated hours, contact information, your physical shop location, and website link.

If you’re creating your business’s Facebook Page for the first time, visit these helpful links:

https://www.facebook.com/business/pages/set-up

https://www.facebook.com/business

Twitter is all about in-the-moment updates. Here you can share your most recent specials and promote your website’s latest blog. It’s also a great way for you to stay up-to-date on news and engage in community conversations. Just remember, if your target audience is not on Twitter and you don’t have the capacity to regularly Tweet, you may want to skip this platform.

Click here for additional tips for Twitter Business Profiles.

Tips for posting on Facebook and Twitter:

  • Stay Active:
    • Try to post at least once per day
    • Respond to comments
    • Check your business’s messenger inbox daily to keep your response time low
  • Mix It Up:
    • Share a combination of text posts, photos, and videos
    • If possible, try your hand at Facebook Live or hosting Facebook events
  • PRO-TIP: If one of your posts is doing especially well on Facebook, you can “Boost” the post with a paid promotion (of any amount) to share it with more people.

Instagram is a great tool to help show off your business and products to current and new customers. Plus, because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can link your accounts and cross-promote on Facebook whenever you post on Instagram!

Tips for posting on Instagram:

  • Your Profile:
    • Instagram allows only one link in your profile, but you can get around this by creating a free Linktree account. Linktree enables you to create a list of links that you want featured in your profile. When someone clicks the one link in your bio, they are taken to a list of pages you would like to promote, such as a link to your website’s homepage, a new promotion, or even to your other social media accounts!
    • Add your business’s contact information to your profile
  • Photos:
    • Natural Lighting > Artificial Lighting
    • Use a combination of product photos and lifestyle photos to keep your feed fresh and diverse.
    • Tag other accounts in your photos that are either featured in the photo or might be interested in seeing/sharing the content in your photo.
      • PRO-TIP: Tag @DLBA and we’ll share it on our Instagram Story!
    • Captions:
      • Keep it short and simple; you can always link to more information on your website through your profile.
      • Don’t use too many or too few hashtags (try to stick between 5-10) and use a mixture of specific hashtags (ex. #DTLB) and general hashtags (#Downtown)
    • Set up Instagram Shopping to sell products from your profile: https://www.facebook.com/business/instagram/shopping/guide.
    • Click here for additional tips for Instagram Business Profiles.

LinkedIn is a social media platform for primarily businesses and professionals. This platform is for advertising job offers and sharing commentary on articles relevant to your business. LinkedIn is also a great place to push your blog posts and drive more traffic to your website. You don’t need to post on LinkedIn every day, but it does help to post every now and then.

Click here for additional tips for LinkedIn Business Profiles.

What DLBA can do for you

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance offers resources and programs to assist Downtown’s small business community.

Current Programs:

The PACE Program – Offers free 1-on-1 business coaching and planning for Downtown Long Beach businesses

1 Million Cups – Created by the Kaufman Foundation, 1 Million Cups is a community gathering for local entrepreneurs to network and share their experiences and ideas. The Long Beach chapter meets once per month.

Downtown Discussions – A new webinar series designed to tackle topics of community interest.

DLBA Storefront Recovery Grant Program – A small business grant program created to help businesses who experienced theft or damage to their storefront on 5/31.

Events Calendar – DLBA will highlight your Downtown business’s events on our events calendar web page as well as in our monthly Downtown Scene Newsletter, which has a subscriber list of 14,000 individuals.

Social Media – DLBA will share social media posts regarding special promotions or events when you tag us @dlba (Instagram & Twitter) or @downtownlongbeach (Facebook). The organization has a wide reach on social media, with 53K followers on Facebook, 31.9K followers on Instagram, and 16.6K followers on Twitter.

If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to contact LaurenM@dlba.org.