Forming A Social Media Strategy: Utilizing Local Directories, Part Three – Bing Places for Business

[custom_frame_left]Forming a Social Media Strategy: Claim or Create your Online Business Listings[/custom_frame_left]

I’ve Already Listed My Business With Google. What’s Next?

Now that your business or organization is listed with Google, you are reaching a majority of Internet users who search online. But does that mean that you are finished utilizing local online directories? It is still important to list your business or organization with competing search engines, and currently Google’s most prominent competitor is Bing.

Although Bing is owned by Microsoft Corporation, a powerful veteran in the field of computing and technology, it is a relative newcomer and underdog among search engines. As of May 2013, Bing searches account for 17.3% of the U.S. search engine market, compared to Google’s 66.5%. Although Bing lags behind Google in market share, it would be unwise to discount Bing completely from your social media strategy.

While Google may currently be the most popular search engine in the U.S., Microsoft’s Windows operating system dominates the PC operating system market with 91.37% as of May 2013, according to Net Applications, a web analytics firm. Microsoft has already integrated Bing into Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 10 and it recently revealed a long-term strategy to integrate Bing search into more of its products as a ‘deep search platform”.

What does all of this mean for your business? It means that Bing – even with a current market share of 17.3% – should still be part of your social media strategy. In the future, if Microsoft leverages their PC dominance to increase Bing’s share of the market, you will already be positioned to reach these customers and potential customers. In addtion, many of your customers and potential customers who use Internet Explorer 10 may not be inclined to change the default search engine in their browser – ignoring Bing could result in these customers and potential customers missing your business listing entirely.

So Where Do I Start?

Fortunately, Bing has followed Google’s lead and created a new portal for businesses with a very familiar name – Bing Places for Business. Like Google, Bing Places for Business is designed to make creating or reclaiming your business listing a straightforward and painless process.

Bing Places for Business

When you click on the “Get Started” button, Bing will ask you to use your business phone number or address to search for existing listings. If there isn’t a listing associated with your business phone number or address, Bing will prompt you to create a new listing. Before you can continue, Bing will also require you to login in using a Microsoft ID.

How do I get a Microsoft ID?

Microsoft requires a Microsoft ID, or account, to utilize Bing Places for Business. If you have an existing Hotmail address (either hotmail.com, live.com, or outlook.com), you already have a Microsoft ID. You can also choose to create a Microsoft ID using any valid email address. Please note that creating or using a Microsoft ID linked to a business email address does not automatically enable allow you to reclaim an existing listing or verify a new one – Bing only allows verification via phone or mail, not email.

Once you are logged in, you will be prompted to enter your listing details. As we mentioned in our previous posts, it is important to utilize a uniform list of your contact information for all of your listings. Bing may offer a wider selection of fields for your business details, or it may present fields that are slightly different than ones utilized by other listing services.

If you are prompted to enter information not listed on your uniform list, it is important that you add this new information to your existing list to ensure that the same details are used uniformly in the future on other directory services. As with Google’s Places for Business, Bing will prompt you to upload photos of your business. While this action is not required, it does allow your listing to stand out and further promote your business with vibrant and inviting images.

Verify Your Bing Business Listing

Once your directory details are added, Bing will prompt you to verify your listing with a PIN number delivered either through a phone call to your business phone number or through a postcard in the mail.

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