Watch for Big Shifts in Local Business Internet Marketing Opportunities

by Joanne Steele on March 15, 2013

You might not have noticed three big announcements recently that will affect internet marketing for small local businesses.

pibal in a blue sky

My husband, Ed, is a hot air balloon pilot. Before each flight, he releases a regular toy balloon filled with helium called a pibal, short for pilot balloon. There’s one in the picture to the right. Can you see it?

We all stand on the field and watch which direction that pibal heads. It shows Ed which direction the winds are moving, because he’s is totally dependent on those winds to navigate his balloon. Air moves in different directions at different altitudes, so it’s imperative that we stand for a few minutes and watch that balloon.

If you take your eye off that little pin prick sized dot in the sky for a second you’ll probably never find it again. And Ed will have less information about which direction he will be going at different altitudes. He would lose his only means of informed navigation.

Internet marketing these days tends to be like watching that pibal.

It’s changing direction almost daily and if you take your eye off the balloon, you’ll have trouble figuring out where you’re going to go, and where you’re likely to end up

There’s been an announcement of another big shift from Google this week that many small local business owners are likely to have missed. Pinterest also had a big announcement, and Facebook is at it again.

The internet marketing pibal is gyrating all over the sky and in your need to focus on running your business, you might have taken your eye off the internet marketing pibal.

That’s what Rural Tourism Marketing Group does. We keep our eye on that pibal so we can tell you which direction it’s heading.

Here’s the latest news on these big three internet marketing players.

Google: Google has just announced that they will be taking down their RSS feed, Google Reader. For those of you who are not sure what Google Reader or RSS feeds are, you are a good example of why this service is going away.

RSS feeds are a way for you to aggregate all the things you subscribe to into one location that is NOT your email box. It turns out, people actually LIKE to get subscriptions delivered to their email, and RSS feed readers including Google are going the way of floppy disks and jewel colored iMacs. We don’t use them, so they’re gone.

If you have a blog, you might have a few diehards who use Google Reader, so do what I’m doing, and alert them to the change on July 1st. Feedly is the suggested new landing place for people still loving their Google Reader. You (If you’re a Google Reader user) and they can go to 14 tips for Google Users Migrating to feedly to figure out how to migrate all your settings.

And on to Pinterest. Pinterest is adding analytics. This is good for business. With this addition, it’s now time to get more serious about Pinterest. You’ll actually have a way to determine if anyone is looking! I’ll be talking more about Pinterest in the coming months at the blog at Take Control Of Your Internet Marketing. If you’re using Pinterest to market your business, you’re going to love this new feature.

Go to and watch the video to see what you can learn from analytics. For those of you who don’t have a Pinterest business account, you might learn whether this will be good investment of time.

In 4 minutes I came to realize that Pinterest Analytics can help a small business owner improve his or her website to make it more pinnacle. It can help them to learn more about their customer by examining a range of things this customer is also pinning. Finally, it can help to show whether a Pinterest page is actually driving any traffic TO their website. Not bad.

And finally, Facebook. I wrote about Facebook Graph Search recently. With a more comprehensive roll out of this new feature, we finally can see a reason to try to get people to like our business pages!

Here’s how it’s supposed to work. Someone comes to your area and searches using Graph Search for your business sector, (i.e., restaurants, rafting companies, real estate companies) that their friends like. If their friends have liked you, you’ll show up in the search. Social becomes the new SEO. You’ve got to be “liked” to show up! Here’s a link to a two part series that AWeber has done on Facebook Graph Search. Get Your Facebook Page Ready For Graph Search

Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the page to continue to the second part.

So, three big shifts. What should you do about them?

1. Let your blog readers know about the Google Reader shift. If you don’t have a blog, ignore this one.

2. If you have a Pinterest page and are actively promoting your business through Pinterest, follow the directions to verify your website and start using these analytics to help get the most out of your efforts. You might need a webmaster’s help to accomplish this if you don’t understand the directions.

If you don’t have a Pinterest page yet, this isn’t important to you until you decide to use Pinterest.

3. Facebook Graph Search. if you have been trying to promote your business using Facebook, carefully read the AWeber articles and follow their suggestions to make your business page more visible to those all important likers.

And here are two easy doable things you can do to increase your visibility and likes.

  • Ask for likes. Yes, say , “like me,” “like my post,” “like my picture,” “LIKE ME!”  Studies have shown it works.
  •  After you post something to your business page, which may not have many likers yet, switch your profile back to yourself and click the share link at the bottom of your post. Now, what you put on your business page goes to your friends through your own news feed. Easy Peasy.

That’s all for now. Gotta keep my eye on that pibal!

1 frances March 18, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Thanks again for clear and succinct information. Double thanks for not making me feel my business is totally in the dark ages for not being involved in all three of the internet marketing categories covered in your article.

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