Local Search on Facebook

Facebook, in general, has a local flavor to it. As a local business, you can tap into this as a way to promote and brand yourself.  Remember the goal is to increase your visibility to local visitors.

In yesterday’s post, I introduced this idea; today I want to expand on it. There are 3 components in Facebook: networks, groups, and applications, that I want to touch on.

Networks. Facebook initially was setup for students and then was opened up to all. Once you join Facebook, you can connect to specific network(s) – schools, cities, companies. When you join a city network, you can add your business listing to the marketplace.  There is also a community calendar, discussions, links. No brainer #1 – an excellent avenue to market yourself locally.

Groups. Anyone can create a group and then invite folks to join or leave it as an open invitation. You can start a group whose focus, theme, topic, is local to your community or business. By creating and participating in a group, you can build your reputation and get your “face” out there. You can have discussions, add events, post links. No brainer #2 – an excellent way to create local specific interactions.

Applications: Applications are tools that you can add to your profile, which allow you interact with your friends and networks. There are tons of them out where. Type in “Facebook applications” in any search engine and you will find more than you knew existed.  I have found many useful and fun applications to add to my profile but I was excited to see how many applications have local search implications.

More and more sites and services are trying to tap into the Facebook network via applications.  So you, the small business owner needs to make sure you too can take advantage of this trend but getting listed or reviewed locally. No Brainer #3  (Now a small disclaimer: I have not used all of the applications and this is by no means a complete listing.  Let me know what you use / find at Facebook.)

-YellowPages.ca (Canada largest online directory has an application coming soon out – See Darby’s article on it)
-Facebook Search Local – a local search engine that allows you to find and review businesses
-ShowMeLocal - local search directory will ability to search stores and business, coupons, sales, deals, discounts, bargains, jobs in your neighborhood
-WeLoveLocal – way to find businesses and services via reading reviews and ratings
-SuperPages Restaurant Reviews – search reviews of local restaurants
-CityWaboo – search for a business in your neighborhood and be recommended by your friends
-eSesame- search, share, and compare local reviews

So others of interest:

-MapFriends – (their description) “maps the location of your friends anywhere in the world. Use the built in local search to find businesses in your area or see up to date traffic information for major cities. You can even get detailed driving directions”
-Go Where? – a brand new application from LocalMatters- You can read about it at EvansInk send/invite a friend/group to a specific location (displayed on a Google map)

As I said, there are probably more and I know there will be others, but hopefully you get the picture.  In addition to local search via the search engines, it can happen at places like Facebook.  Social networking and local search combined- a powerful combination that you should not ignore.

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