A few weeks ago, I found a phone book on my door step. Here's what happened to it:
So what, exactly, does this have to do with social media? Well, if you were a small business owner who served local customers during the '80s and '90s, most customers would pull out their yellow pages to look you up online if they needed things like your address or phone number. Today, people look up information on the go. Siri and Google's voice activated searches are often used when someone is in a car, in route to a destination she or his is trying to find. You no longer are easily found in an alphabetized list of providers within a category. Today's phonebook for people and businesses is search engines.
A good test to perform that takes just a few minutes is to mimic what many of your customers or friends do to find you. Get your smart phone out and look up your small business or your name. Type in your business name/your name into the browser. What shows up? Can you find yourself easy? Is all the information that appears favorable and accurate for your business or yourself? Social media allows your business name and personal name to perform better on search results. Often your business profile on a well-established Goole Plus page or Facebook page will show up very high in search results. You LinkedIn page, Twitter handle, and other social media profiles may very well place in the top of search results.
If your search results are inaccurate or lacking, you will quickly be able to identify this by going through this 2-3 minute exercise.
Oh, and I almost forgot: throw that phone book of yours away.