The importance of establishing local brand authenticity and how to do it

With fake news and spammers infiltrating so much of the internet, people value authenticity more than ever, especially when it comes to their local businesses. People are more likely to visit a store or website that they trust, which means businesses need to prioritize authenticity as a local brand.

Through smart marketing techniques and SEO, businesses can build that trust with local consumers. Here are the four main tips to keep in mind when crafting a brand’s standards.

  1. Manage the business’ online local presence

Far too many local businesses underestimate the negative impact of leaving their listings unmanaged. The truth is that people won’t trust a business that has no listings on Google, Facebook, Bing and other highly used digital platforms. Creating listings with online business directories is one of the best ways to establish an authentic presence, both online and within the local customers. If you haven’t already, at least claim the business’ GMB listing. Roughly 90 percent of businesses’ leadscome from Google today.

  1. Make the brand voice personal

No matter how SEO changes, personalization will always be in style.It’s important for brick-and-mortar businesses, and even online small businesses, to optimize their content to attract the right customers. Brands must know their audiences and appeal to them in as many ways as possible. One of the most effective techniques is to develop a voice that specifically speaks to local customers. Direct the content to real customers who are nearby, not the general public. Let potential clients know that the business is local and understands their struggles. Build a connection with them.

  1. Use content to make topics locally relevant

Did you know that, according to Amy Bishop of Clix Marketing, 72 percent of customers who search for local results will go to a business that’s within five miles of their immediate location? Local businesses dominate in today’s world, and it’s vital that companies tap into that aspect of authenticity. Write blogs or articles that address the community’s needs or put local spins on social media posts. The more a business can appeal to the local people, the more the community will trust it.

  1. Establish trust by providing accurate, updated information

Inaccurate or “bad” data can seriously deteriorate people’s trust in a local brand. Consumers want to find accurate information, like phone numbers and addresses, in their first search result. Don’t risk losing potential clients because incorrect or conflicting information is floating around the internet. Instead, get that bad data cleaned up, pronto!

If you haven’t already, now is the time to start optimizing your digital and marketing strategies to build trust with potential customers and local communities. No matter what changes technology brings, there’s no substitute for authenticity.

Bernadette Coleman is CEO of Advice Local, an award-winning local search technology and local presence management company focused on improving client visibility across the local digital universe. Known as the Queen of Local SEO, you can find her speaking nationally on local SEO and search strategies for businesses and brands.