JTHESE DAYS, the promises of a global SOCIAL MEDIA community ring hollow to many. Seeking to tap into this disillusionment, a number of hyperlocal networks like Nextdoor and Venn have emerged, which would seem to suit small businesses, especially now that after two years of pandemic conditions, many consumers are thirsty for community while learning about e-commerce. . Brand expert Larry Light recently told Forbes that neighborhoods meet our social needs without “the effort of rational planning…Brands that can meet neighborhood needs have a relevant differentiator.” Optician David Greening, who oversees the Nextdoor account at Astorino & Associates Eye Center (AAEC) in Newport Beach, Calif., shares the benefits of going hyperlocal.
When some patients told him about Nextdoor, Greening’s first thought was that it sounded like a helpful way to communicate with neighbors “about coyote and helicopter sightings.” But when he saw that the AAEC could create a professional account and link it to the suggestions they had on their site, he signed up for the practice. It’s free, but unlike Facebook, there’s a process to verify your address. Once that’s done, you’re placed in a neighborhood, with your feed only showing posts from locals. Businesses are entitled to a set number of free posts per month and are charged for using the Local Deals service (this costs on average around $75 but depends on the length and scope of the audience), which allows you to promote discounts to locals. For Greening, this promised to be a great way to boost word-of-mouth marketing, which he says “has never been more essential. We surveyed and over 90% of respondents said they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising. »
Greening quickly found Nextdoor to be a convenient way to gather leads. “If I see a neighbor asking for a good eye doctor, optician, etc., then I recommend our practice.” He also uses it for sales because it’s cheap to post deals to nearby postcodes. In one, the AECC is offering 30% off full eyewear to customers who find them on Nextdoor. “It’s really easy to show off a holiday-themed offer, service, or gift idea that might make it onto neighbors’ lists,” he says.
Nextdoor is the only platform Greening uses to advertise eyewear. “[On other platforms] quite often, your audience is not in the same zone as you. It’s hard to promote an eye care business on Facebook without paying for targeted ads. It gets very expensive. This year, before the holidays, he also plans to choose a service or item and announce that his sales will go to a nonprofit or local organization.
Greening sees inherent advantages in hyperlocal platforms. “I can share tips and advice to make sure neighbors know I’m the go-to local expert. I can get in touch with residents of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. I have peace of mind because I am reaching real people who can actually make a trip to come see our practice. He describes customer response as “definitely positive”, adding that sometimes patients just show up and say “I saw you listed on Nextdoor”.
Greening estimates that during times when he is able to devote his full attention to it, he gets maybe 10 extra sales per month. “That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a good comeback.”
Do it yourself: Go hyperlocal
- LEVERAGE. Nextdoor offers three free posts per month. “You can write whatever you want and you’ll get guaranteed reach,” says Greening.
- INVEST. The paid ‘Local Deals’ feature allows you to reward your community with a special offer to come or even recommend you to a friend.
- PARTNER. Find other local businesses on Nextdoor that you have synergies with. “It’s great if you find optometrists who don’t have an optical store!”
- BE PERSONAL. “And absolutely don’t get caught up in political messaging unless you want to polarize your audience,” says Greening.
- LOOK AROUND. Besides Nextdoor, options like Venn or Facebook Neighborhoods may also work for you.