How will you rank in local social results?

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As if you haven’t heard enough about getting started with Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and you need to claim your Google Place Page (formerly Local Business Center listing), here we go again, with more changes to the way we market our businesses.

Those who are on Twitter will have noticed that the web pages for posting have recently shown a link asking if you want to add your location to your posts. If you thought about it at all, it probably looked like Twitter was defending itself against Foursquare’s location-based messages. That appears to be the case, certainly, but an article from the journal Search Engine Land shows more is going on than meets the eye, and speculates about upcoming uses for the information.

Behind the scenes

If you are using the web interface, when a tweet includes location information, you can move your mouse pointer over the location, to see a pop-up bubble with information about that location. Twitter announced on June 14 that this feature would be rolled out in 65 countries over the next week. The image below is a link to the Search Engine Land post’s image, as our account doesn’t yet show the location information.

Twitter place information
Twitter place information

Clicking the “Tweets about this place” link displays a search results page, showing tweets about this location.

What this means for lodging properties

This is all very cute, you may say, but who has time, and what difference does it make? The answer to the second part of the question is also the answer to the first – if it is important, you’ll have to make time.

If you’re familiar with Google Place Pages (and you should be!) you know that your local business can claim its page and provide information for Google to display when potential guests search for your type of business in the local area (that is, a search for “bed and breakfast yourtown yourarea” yields place pages for bed and breakfasts in that area). Twitter is essentially combining that capability with Foursquare’s location-based check-in system – if you tweet with a location, Twitter can relate it to a Twitter place, and potential guests can find information about the place via the “Tweets about this place” link.

What to do

How do you take advantage of this?

Since the full rollout has not yet occurred, things may change, of course. Nevertheless, it looks as though there are three things small lodging properties can do:

  1. Create an account for your property on Twitter if you don’t already have one.
  2. Enable locations – and if your property doesn’t appear, search for it or add it.
  3. Tweet retularly – not necessarily frequently, as no one likes following people who tweet constantly, or who have little to say except “stay at my property”. Provide value by tweeting things people are interested in around the area, specials, and links to other interesting things.

By doing this you’ll build followers, but also build credibility. It is far too early to tell exactly how these Twitter place pages will be used or what criteria Twitter will use to fill them with content, but certainly having a presence, and giving yourself credibility by showing your knowledge of the location can’t hurt!

Bonus tip:

No secret here – if you haven’t already done so, do not wait any longer to claim your place page on Google!