There is traditional social media and then there is social media that has a local focus. This is different because it tends to be business oriented, and because it uses sites that are not always part of the standard socialization “norm”.
For example, everyone Facebooks, or so it would seem if you look at the number of pages, profiles, users, etc. This means that a lot of socialization and communication is done through the site and its tools. This, however, is not a format that is ideally suited for a business promotion. While there are plenty of fantastic ways to generate “buzz” about a business and to even market it through a social network such as Facebook, you have to look at the entire array of options to find places with the strongest benefits.
The Other Social Sites
Consider that a professional may want to develop a very strong LinkedIn network of colleagues, peers, and friends in order to help move their business forward. On the other hand, it may behoove a business owner to look at an even more localized entity such as InsiderPages in order to get benefits from the social media efforts.
What are the sites mentioned, and why are they a preferred choice? Let’s start with a quick look at social media in general. It is “user generated” content that is channeled through the Internet and a variety of programs or devices. In many ways it is social interaction that is far beyond the normal boundaries of social communication.
For instance, in the “old days” you might ask everyone in your office or your circle of friends for a recommendation for a new dentist. Today, you may inquire of people about their opinions, but it is far more likely that you would turn to the Internet for advice. The first “level” of response would come from the search engine results, but then you would be able to explore the different local directories to get consumer opinions and details.
This is where we can turn to things like InsiderPages or LinkedIn to see the results.
Using the Details
These sites are full of user generated comments in the same ways that sites like Twitter and Facebook are, but the intent of the comments are unique. They are not purely social in the simple fact that they are comments specifically about a business or a professional. They might be in the form of actual reviews or they may be feedback left by a peer or customer.
The modern consumer can use the different sites to get information about nearly any sort of business or entity, and if they don’t automatically get all of the information available, there are “aggregators” that pull together details as well.
Often, these are websites that are based on a specific region and designed to provide those in that specific area with everything that they might need in a single place. These sites are increasing in popularity because they help people in one region to “meet” and to begin developing local networks that create opportunities for “real world” interactions. Though many of these sites begin as review sites or local information sites, they also retain their social interaction models that encourage people to speak with one another online. Because everyone is situated in the same geographical region, however, it will lead to more options for interaction or communication.
This is why local businesses are always encouraged to find ways to get listed in such directory and review sites. Many marketing firms are now actually offering consumers some incentives for posting opinions and feedback about services and businesses in their area, and this is yet another form of communication that is developing thanks to the Web!