Category Archives: Featured

Social Media Customer Service For Small Businesses

Customer service on the web is very important and no one is training small businesses on that in an effective manner. We can teach anyone how to find people who are complaining or saying negative or positive things about their business and how to reach out to them.

Using Google to send you alert emails is just one of many ways you can tap into this new frontier of Social Media Customer Service.

Simple Steps To Get Started

We can show you or your staff simple tricks to find people who are using language on their social profiles and blogs that may indicate that they are in the market for your company’s services.

Google Alerts

Google has a free system for keeping an eye on the web. You can enter search terms and Google will let you get email alerts for what ever it was you put in the search box. This is nothing new but using it in a smart way is very uncommon. Here is an example of how a local business might use it.

Steps to set up Google Alert

  • Got to
  • Type in the search box the following with quotes and everything exactly: “the coffee was horrible” Spokane
  • Change the “Volume” drop down to “All results”
  • Click the blue Preview results link

You should see something similar to the following graphic.

Bad Coffee Google Alert

Feel free to change out the city name Spokane for your city. Keep in mind that the quote marks (“) are important as they keep your search more exact and that keeps out most of the irrelevant results.

Put yourself in an unhappy customers position

What would a dissatisfied customer type on a review site or on their social profile? This could be “the coffee was horrible” or “the coffee was terrible” or maybe even “the coffee was disgusting.” I think you get the point. Experiment with different things your customer base may be talking about on the web.

Tap into your competition’s negative complaints

One great way to build loyalty through social media customer service is to help people who are complaining about your competitors as well as your own products or services. Set up a Google alert for complaining language and your competitors name. It might be something like (“I hate starbucks” spokane) or something similar. Experiment with different variations. If you are not sure who your competitors are just Google them and look up your type of business in a phone book or something.

Why this works and how it gives you an advantage

The simple fact is there is a big circle of crowd based communications going on on the internet that small businesses have no clue about when it comes to listening in on or taping into it to join the conversation. As long as your Google alerts are set up smartly and you are not getting irrelevant results leading you to ignore them, it is an indispensable tool to small businesses.

How to improve your alerts over time

Sometimes you might get an alert that is not what you are looking for. When that happens knowing some of Google’s more advanced search operators can help greatly. Lets say you were a local coffee shop looking to capitalize on Starbucks mistakes. You might set up an alert like: “terrible coffee” starbucks. It could look like this:

Alert "terrible coffee" starbucks

The problem is these results are not going to be much help. They are showing one writer’s opinion of Starbucks coffee that they posted in an article on the mobile payment processing which they syndicated to tons of blog sites. Let’s refine this in order to come up with some better results.

Change the query to: bad “starbucks coffee”

This will look for places where someone typed “starbucks coffee” exactly and also the word (bad), in close proximity to it, on the site somewhere. Notice how you can see results that are more actionable? You could right click these results, open them in a new tab, and begin a conversation with the people involved. You can interachange for any site you want. You might want to try or, etc. Go ahead and experiment with it and see what you can come up with that is relevant to your business.

Advanced search operators for Google Alerts

Even with these refinements you still may not be seeing what you want. Here are a few other tricks. Type in this query exactly: bad “starbucks coffee” near:spokane This query will allow you to find more results, order them by distance from Spokane and exclude results from Starbucks themselves.

Try this really advanced query:

“starbucks” reviews “bad service” OR “terrible service” OR “horrible service” OR “poor service” OR “bad taste” OR “tasted gross” OR “tasted nasty” OR “tasted disgusting” OR “terrible coffee” OR “horrible coffee” OR “coffee was nasty” -inurl:news -inurl:category -inurl:wiki -inurl:definition

Advanced Search Operators Explained:

Operator: ” “

You can search for words like bad service but you will get results that have those words appearing in any order on the page. If you surround phrases by the quotes it will limit results to sites with what you put in-be-tween quotes exactly.

Operator: OR

You can pick from many different variations of potential queries. If you don’t use OR and just use a space it is assumed you mean AND which is not what you want.


With the minus sine (-) you can exclude results. You can use it in front of most words and operators to reverse their purpose.

Operator: inurl:

You can specify a word that is required to appear in the actual URL Address of the site listing. This works great for using the negative operator minus sine to get rid of results you see as irrelevant. In our example we excluded sites with news, category, wiki and definition in the url, as they may be more news related or not conversational.

Operator: site:

You can specify results from a specific site or exclude results from a specific site like in the example:

Thoughts on advanced search operators

You can see what we mean when we say that Google Alerts have been around for a long time but hardly anyone knows how to use them effectively. The search operators can get pretty technical. If you want to do something really cool,  practice your search queries in Google itself first. This will allow you to narrow down your results to things that you know you want which may not appear when you try the query in Google Alerts itself. Actually join the conversations and interact with people while you are refining your queries. Once you are done then paste your query in Google Alerts and create the alert even if there are no results. It will alert you when there is similar results and it may also notify you when someone responds in most cases. It works really well.

Proactive Social Media Customer Service

If you want to get “Real Time” results you won’t be able to do that easily with Google Alerts but you can do it at This will allow you to interact in conversions that are happening in the last few minutes or hours. This would be a really smart use of your or your staff’s time during times in the day where business is slow. Check out the links in the sidebar Google provides that help you narrow your search. This example is the advanced query above but with the “Real Time” tab in the sidebar selected.

Real Time SERPS Bad Coffee

You can create email alerts from Google results directly sometimes. If you see something similar to the following at the bottom of the search page you should be able to create one. Don’t forget to change the drop down to “All results.”

“Stay up to date on these results:

Conclusion about social media customer service for local businesses

Our goal is to set up training courses for small businesses in the Spokane area to train their staff in internet marketing and online customer service techniques. We want to create something where we can get to the point of holding local classes or seminars. We want to do it all for free because if businesses see the skills we give away for free, make them money, then they may hire us for more advanced services and buy our software packages, etc.

If you would like to have you or your staff trained in basics of Social Media Customer Service please click the contact button at the top of the site and let us know what your needs entail. Thanks for reading and have a great day. We hope this tip gives you an advantage in business you did not have previously.

Free SEO Content Optimization Strategy E-Book

E-Book Content Strategies
Click Image To Download Free E-Book

What you think you know about content optimization may be killing your chance of getting your pages ranked where you want them. With this manual you will be able to train your staff or school your contracted copywriter on the proper way to structure page content in a way that not only improves your chance of ranking but also converts visitors to potential customers.
“What is the point of a website if it is not a tool to generate real profit?”

Optimize Your Writing Style

You have 8 seconds to suck your reader in before you FAIL! There are many SEO copywriting principals to master in order to make sure your written content is compliant with the latest in search engine optimization techniques. At the same time you are figuring out how to structure your page you need to avoid scaring people off the site completely. You would be surprised just how common site abandonment is.


SEO content structure

All pages need to contain a targeted keyword in the title, introductory paragraph, two or three supporting paragraphs and a concluding paragraph. Each of these should be divided by logical sub-headings to cater to people who scan first before committing to a full read. These are the basics of proper SEO page structure but in order to keep from failing you need extreme skill to write the page content in a way that has a natural flow and tone as people read it. Most people hear a negative tone in their mind as they read and you have to change that to a positive one. That can’t be accomplished by awkwardly trying to stuff keywords where they don’t belong!

You may be a good writer

You may even be a journalist. You may have many people telling you how great your writing skills are. It could be that none of these are true and you are just the “doer” type of person who wants to be successful online. No matter who you are you should understand that the psychology behind effective and persuasive copywriting is not something new. All that is new is the fact you now have to add more science to your strategy to optimize your vocabulary for machines called search engines.

Demonstrate mathematically calculable authority

If you want to succeed online then you need to be concerned with demonstrating authority as an SEO content strategist. There is no room for eccentricities online. If you are already skilled or just want your content to rank well and gain traffic then pay close attention to the science behind the why’s and how’s of structuring your content. Write clean clear persuasive content with an eye to mathematical topical accuracy and you will be a cut above the rest.

What exactly is Google Page Rank?

Google Page Rank affects website rankings

Google PR Explained
Addicted to Page Rank Green Bar?

Google says that Page Rank has a direct effect on a websites ranking in search results. When a person types in “search engine optimization” in the Google search box and clicks “enter,” the companies that have websites showing on the first page get lots of traffic and potential sales.

Search engine rank “page position” does not always revolve around Google Page Rank but it has a significant affect on your position in the “SERPS” or Search Engine Result Pages. These are the pages that search engines display when someone searches for something.

Links to your site build page rank

Page rank is made up of the total power of the links from web pages on the internet that point to your site. Google refers to these as votes. The more votes your site has the more page rank your site accumulates. A link from a very powerful page rank site or PR of 6/10 has much higher voting power than a bran new web page with no page rank. You send Google Page Rank to every site you link to unless you use special link codes like “nofollow.”

Higher ranking back links are better than mass

It is estimated that Page Rank works like the earth quake Richter Scale but slightly different. It is said that a PR 2 is 8 times greater than a PR 1 and a PR 3 is 8 times greater than a PR 2, etc. etc. Most websites never go higher than a PR 4 or PR5. Links from sites higher than your own are required to increase your site’s own page rank. As an example one link from a PR 8 can put you ahead of a competitor with 20,000 PR 2 back links.

Do not fall into page rank addiction

A webmaster or owner of a site should pay attention to Page Rank but not get obsessed. It is very easy to obsess with raising your Page Rank. The problem is people naturally start taking action based on what is currently on their mind. If you are always thinking about ways to improve your Google Page Rank you will start accidentally taking actions that Google condemns as page rank manipulation.

Build page rank naturally

We recommend everyone build Google Page Rank as naturally as possible. Buying text links on high ranking pages has been proven to raise your site’s page rank. The problem is someone could report you and the site you bought the link from and both of you would lose Page Rank. The seller of the links could even get their site banned. Google will discount links that you buy which could hurt your rankings but typically they don’t punish buyers unless caught red handed. The reason is someone could buy links and point them to competitors websites to get them banned.

Do not waste time with mass back links

It is easy of course to accumulate low ranking back links. Many websites get obsessed with this and waste their time and money. The more you have the higher your rank but their can be problems with that. If you have thousands of unimportant sites linking to your own and no higher ranking pages, then it looks like you are creating mass back links for the sole purpose of manipulating page rank.

High ranking links raise red flags

If your site gets high ranking sites to link to it then even that could raise some red flags at Google and they may conduct a manual review of your links. If they feel they are purchased or somehow unnatural they may discredit the links and your site will not get any Page Rank flow from those links. If they are there naturally then you have nothing to worry about. If you paid for them or scammed your way into getting them then you have something to worry about.

Do not fall for link schemes and scams

Stay away from link scams and buying links. It is okay to exchange links with other sites but don’t over do it. Google does punish excessive link exchange schemes. Stay away from any third part link broker, trader, etc. Those type of link networks routinely get banned or what is called de-indexed. That means your site is removed from Google’s index of websites. You want to build your links yourself in the most natural way possible. That usually means creating great content and then marketing that content to a large enough audience that they naturally link to your site because it’s awesome.

We have articles that discuss links in greater detail. Please click here to go to the category page with multiple listings for link building strategies.