Posts

The popular hyper-local community app Nextdoor is introducing new ways for local businesses to connect with their nearby audience. Starting this week, the service is launching “Business Posts” which appear in the Nextdoor neighborhood news feed. 

Additionally, the company is promising a suite of tools and analytics is coming in the near future for businesses running ads or organic posts. 

How Do Business Posts Work?

For the most part, Business Posts are extremely similar to the typical organic posts any user can make on the platform. Once a brand has claimed a local business page, they can create posts which can include pictures with a full description. Just as with a typical post from users, others can then “Thank” or comment on the posts. 

Just looking at the posts, the most obvious difference is that Business Posts include a label which informs users that “this post is from a Local Business.”

Behind the scenes, there are a few other limitations which may frustrate some businesses. 

For now, Business Posts will only reach users within two miles of your listed business address. So far, the brand has remained mum on whether they are considering changes or options for brands that operate with a service area that may not directly correspond with their physical address. 

Interestingly, the platform also says they will consolidate posts from multiple businesses into a single carousel post when five or more Business Posts are queued in the neighborhood feed at once.

Another important detail is that brands only get two Business Posts per month for free. The phrasing of the announcement implies that brands may soon be able to pay to create more frequent posts, but the company has not offered any details about this prospect. 

How To Make The Best Nextdoor Business Post

To help brands make the most of this new feature, Nextdoor also released a number of examples and recommendations in a companion post

Among the tips, Nextdoor says:

  • Posts with at least 5 recommendations have 30% higher engagement
  • Post between 5 – 7 pm receive higher engagement
  • Posts on Thursday and Friday see more engagement than weekend or early-week posts
  • Post at least once every two weeks
  • Posts with photos and business pages with profile photos are more visited and have greater engagement

Analytics is Coming

Currently, Nextdoor offers next to no tools for tracking or analyzing the reach and engagement of business-related posts. That will change later this month, though, as the platform launches its own business owner dashboard with tools for measuring the performance of both Local Deals ads and Business Posts.

These will include details on the number of users who have viewed, clicked, or recommended your posts.

A new study focusing on small businesses in the US reveals that a huge number of small brands are working without any sort of plan for their marketing.

The survey from Outbound Engine asked 350 small and medium business (SMB) owners about a number of areas, including revenue growth, stress, their biggest hurdles, their marketing strategies, and more.

Of the business owners surveyed, approximately half of all SMB owners do not have a marketing plan for 2019 and are unlikely to create one.

Small Business Marketing Struggles

The lack of marketing plans in the survey is largely attributed to an increase in small businesses being overwhelmed or working with limited budgets.

According to the report, 62% of SMB owners say they are as or more stressed about their business this year compared to last.

Further, the study finds that:

  • 25% of SMB owners surveyed are unsure of how they plan to grow their business in 2019.
  • More than half (55%) of SMB owners spend less than 5% of annual revenue on marketing.
  • More than 58% of SMB owners spend five or fewer hours on marketing each week.
  • 86% of respondents say they prefer to spend their time on other business activities rather than marketing.

Small Changes Lead to Big Rewards

While the study shows that many businesses feel lost or unable to focus on their marketing, it also reveals that investing just a little more time or money can pay dividends and reduce business stress.

According to responses about last year performance, small increases in marketing investment led to more revenue growth for SMBs in 2018. Additionally, spending just 5% more time on marketing was tied to increased revenue growth.

This is reflected in the finding that 81% of respondents who invested between 5% and 10% of annual revenue into their marketing reported revenue growth in 2018. Meanwhile, only 50% of respondents who invested less than 5% of revenue into marketing saw growth.

The full report is available in PDF form here.

 Google-My-Business-Logo

As schools close and the temperatures soar across the country, it isn’t unusual for businesses to change their hours for the summer. It is especially common in tourist areas where shops often stay open longer to accommodate the longer days and increased store traffic.

If your business has special summer hours, now is the time to guarantee your business listing on Google shows your adjusted seasonal hours.

Today, Google launched a new initiative at gybo.com/summer to help businesses quickly check how their Google My Business listing is displaying, including whether they are currently open or closed.

Google says a recent survey of small businesses found 25% change their operating hours during summer, but only 1 percent of the businesses also adjusted their hours on Google My Business.

Considering recent studies have shown over half of all consumers use search to look for business hours, and even higher numbers use search to plan local purchases, having the wrong hours listed can be quite a big problem.

If you have special summer hours but haven’t updated your listing yet, be sure to update the listing in Google My Business. Be sure to set a reminder while you are at is so you remember to change the hours back again when fall arrives.

Local business owners have more incentive than ever to make sure their Google listings are correct. As first reported by Android Police, Google Maps has recently added a feature that tells users to turn around and go home if they are using Google Maps to navigate to a specific place if that location will be closed by the time they are expected to arrive.

The warning reads simply, “your destination may be closed by the time you arrive.”

If you keep up with making sure your local listings are always up-to-date and accurate, this shouldn’t be much of a worry to you, however if your business has incorrect hours listed the new feature could wreak havoc on your store traffic.

With the new feature, having the wrong time listed is almost like forgetting to turn the sign from closed to open at the start of the day.

Here is an example of the new warning:

google-maps-closed-place-warning-1434543952

Facebook Beacons

Facebook is expanding its Place Tips program, and that means retailers will finally have access to free beacons that push posts and photos related to their business when someone accesses Facebook in or near that location.

For example, if you are checking your Facebook quickly while you are waiting in line at a participating retailer you will see “more info about places you visit, including your friends’ photos, experiences and moments from that place.” Users will also be prompted to like the business’s Facebook page.

As Engadget reported, users will receive a “tip” notification for the place you are at when you open Facebook on your phone. If you tap it, you’ll be shown a series of cards related to the location. The cards will include current posts and photos from your friends who have also visited the location, as well as basic information about the business.

For now, the cards offer limited value from the perspective of the retailer, especially as advertising is not permitted. However, it gets retailers directly on users streams and is delivered based on an opt-out basis to users. That means there is still quite the potential for the program.

To make the service work, Facebook determines your location using a combination of cellular networks, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Facebook Bluetooth® beacons.

For now the Place Tips program is limited to the Facebook app for the iPhone and location services must be enabled for the tips to appear.

Mike Blumenthal did a great job explaining the importance of the announcement to small and medium businesses:

This marks the first time that beacon technology to interact with customers is being made available at scale to every business. While it might not appeal to a Macy’s that can implement their own beacon hardware and software stack, it now makes the option available for every Mom & Pop to participate with in-store customer interactions.

You can request your free beacon using this form.

Google Mobile

Most reports have made Mobilegeddon out to be a farce with only a small effect on Google’s search results overall. New analysis from digital agency Koozai, however, suggests small and medium businesses (SMB) felt quite an impact when Google rolled out their mobile friendly algorithm.

According to Koozai’s May survey of 2,000 SMB’s with 50 or fewer employees, nearly half (46%) of all respondents reported experiencing changes in ranking. Of that group, 41 percent also saw a drop in rankings by at least three spots. This may not sound like much, but a drop in just one or two rankings can have huge impacts on traffic.

“The hype that the Google mobile update would cause carnage in the search engine rankings missed the larger picture,” says Ben Norman, chief executive (CEO) of Koozai. “Exaggerating the impact meant that businesses didn’t anticipate that even small changes in their ranking can have a big impact on their organic mobile search results.”

Norman says much of the confusion is due to the idea that a single algorithm is the deciding factor when determining ranking. Google uses over 200 different factors to rank pages on search results pages, but some were led to believe the mobile optimization would be the ultimate deciding factor. On the contrary, 27 percent of businesses in Koozai’s survey reported drops in rankings despite having optimized their sites for mobile.

This leads many business owners to feel like they are being punished after acting on Google’s warnings, which Norman says illustrates how frequently SMBs are poorly educated on SEO and fail to understand e-commerce analytics.

“Many consumers today will research on mobile and then purchase on desktop,” he says. “Many SMBs are missing out on these lead-creation opportunities if they don’t know if their e-commerce sites aren’t giving their potential customers a good experience on mobile.”

Of the businesses involved, 37 percent said they were worried the mobile friendly algorithm update would impact their sales while 44 percent said they were not concerned because the majority of their sales come from desktop shopping. Nearly half said they were unsure about the relationship between devices and could not say whether mobile influenced their desktop sales. In addition, 12 percent did not know whether their sites had been optimized for mobile at all.

There were predictions well before the release of the algorithm that small and medium businesses would be the most likely to be impacted by ‘Mobilegeddon’, but many reviews of the algorithm’s effects failed to consider the disparity in their post-Mobilegeddon analysis.