I first heard the phrase “digital hygiene” a few years back in a sales presentation by Google Canada – and it stuck in the back of my head. I thought it perfectly encapsulated an absolutely necessary first step to any digital or social media strategy – ensuing your digital information is “clean.” It also alludes to having to make this cleanliness part of a routine, a kind of flossing for your online presence. Like flossing, it means some extra work, but it will pay dividends.
The essence of “digital hygiene” is that all the information about your business be quickly accessible, accurate, and always up to date. The goal is that potential customers be able to quickly access vital company info easily, by whatever means they seek you – whether through a search engine, map, your own web site, a social media platform or a mobile app.
I’m not necessarily talking about fancy-pants SEO (search engine optimization) techniques here, though this does form some of the basic strategy, this is the “low hanging fruit” to being seen, and if you are already online, to improving your visibility.
Have you ever tried to find out when a business or institution’s holiday hours are? It is awesome when they come up right within search results or can be reached from within the map. If your business information isn’t immediately available with a minimum of effort in this way you may be loosing potential business. Customers are now less inclined to call to ask (your web site should be designed so mobile devices can automatically recognize the phone number) or even to navigate to your website. The growing ubiquity of location aware smart phones means potential customers are also relying maps and apps to find your business. They might not even know the name of the company so providing details like what business categories you operate in is more important than ever.
The good news here is that companies like Google, who have an interest passing high quality information onto their users, have made it easy, and free to make sure this information is accessible to consumers. The same goes for social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ as well as mobile applications like Foursquare and Yelp.
Here is a short list of the vital information a small bricks-and mortars business needs to maintain and propagate. As a process, I’d suggest keeping these details in one, up-to date, online document with details ready to insert into the various digital touch points. I’d also suggest you track where you’ve entered the information to serve as a checklist of sorts when anything changes.
- Business hours, including holidays and special notes
- Exact store location and parking details
- Contact information including phone numbers, email, website and social media platforms
- Categories of retail and or service you operate in
- Loyalty programs
- A brief, “about” description that highlights your products and services while and what makes your products unique
Also good to have on hand:
- A good store picture and properly formatted and sized logo and profile picture.
Covered in the next posts will be more specific how-tos and some of the bonus opportunities and insight using these free services can provide.