Every day millions of people are creating billions of searches, returning results that will eventually shape their behavior and purchase decisions.

There is a massive opportunity for businesses to be found more often in these searches

if they have established social media profiles.

But with the seemingly infinite number of options available to potential customers, must you spend several hours per week creating profiles and uploading pictures to every upstart platform? Of course not.

Data from Alexa confirms that well over 80% of all non search engine business searches come from 4 sites. The remaining 15-20% come from thousands of niche sites that are constantly changing.

In other words, in order to reach over 80% of the online world, only 4 social media profiles must be managed.

The following are the 4 places that your business must be:

1. Yelp

Find us on Yelp

At one time just a restaurant and bar review site, Yelp has grown to encompass just about every service, product or business. If customers can tell their friends about it, they’re Yelp-ing about it.

Setting up your account

If you don’t already have an account, go to the business signup page, create a new Yelp account and search for your business. If no results are returned, you get to build your profile from the ground up.

If it already exists then all you have to do is verify the information and update the logo image (users rarely get that part right). The rest of the game is organic, as users will provide reviews as they come across your business.

Click this link for additional information about Yelp strategies.

Linkedin

Prospective business partners, job-seekers and suppliers use Linkedin to research prospective companies they want to business with.

How to use LinkedinJust having a profile on Linkedin conveys a professional message about your business. Conversely, if your business is not found when people are searching for you on Linkedin, they may wonder why and form an initially negative impression about you.

So, to create your Linkedin profile, click Add a Company and include a description of your business, links to your website and other information you’d like the world to see.

Click this link for additional information about Linkedin strategies.

Facebook

Facebook wants you
Facebook has over half a billion users. In fact, it is now the largest social network and the most visited website on the planet.

Most people who are active online will search for your business on Facebook. Like Linkedin, whether or not your business is found on this platform will form important first impressions in the minds of your prospective customers.

Before You Get Started

You must already have a personal account on Facebook and be logged into that personal account in order to create a business Page. If you don’t already have a personal account on Facebook, fill out the ‘Sign Up’ information on the Facebook Home Page.

Note: Your name and information from your personal account will not be connected or publicly visible on your Facebook Business Page.

Create Your Business Page

Once you have logged into your personal account on Facebook, go to Facebook’s Create a Page and choose your Page Name and Category. NOTE: The type of Page you choose (ie: local business, brand or artist) cannot be changed, so make sure you make the selection that’s most appropriate to your business.

Start creating your new Page by filling out the ‘Info’ tab, upload a profile picture and begin promoting your Page to contacts from your personal profile to help you get started.

Recent research shows that the best interaction with your prospective customers comes from engaging with them in the status updates of your Page.

So don’t just create your Page and forget about it. Stay active, update your status frequently and reply to everyone who leaves a comment in order to create a business Page that people will want to visit again and again.

Click this link for additional information about Facebook strategies.

Twitter

Twitter…a source of hours of debate among small business people. Is Twitter really worth the hassle?

Yes.

TwitterTwitter provides you with an immediate, real tine way to interact with your customers and prospective customers. And with a status update being a maximum of 140 characters, it doesn’t take a lot of time to formulate something to say!

Setting Up Your Account

Go to Twitter.com and click the Sign Up button. Note that the USERNAME field will become your Twitter ‘handle’ ie: the name you’ll use to create Tweets and the name people will find you if they search Twitter.

Probably the most important thing to remember when choosing your username is that it should be easy to spell, read and remember! Try to avoid using numbers or underscores – people tend to forget to include those when they’re searching for you on Twitter.

Now What?

So, you have your Twitter account set up. Now what? For some great suggestions on next steps refer to our post Growing Your Twitter Audience Starts With Adding Value.

Social media is a many faceted field. But by focusing on 4 Places that Every Business Must Be – Yelp, Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter – you’ll reach the vast majority of people who are searching for your business online.

Do you have accounts on these 4 social media platforms? Let other know how to reach you there by leaving a comment below.