AKRON (March 18, 2013) — Although we are all members of this tight-knit tire industry community, we also want to remember that we all belong to another community: the local one.
As we go through the more popular social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter, and we discuss the importance of social media, I realize some of you may be confused about how you can reach your local community through an international social site. There are definitely ways to target the demographics you want to hit with differing social networking sites, but in today's blog I thought I'd talk about a free Internet advertising platform called Meetlocalbiz.com that specifically is designed to help you utilize the technological aspects of the Internet—while building your local presence.
"MeetLocalBiz is completely different and unique because it is the only platform that, when a consumer logs on, that they can follow a local business in their community and get information and specials and promotions and learn about them…," said Todd Sachs, founder of Meetlocalbiz.com.
Todd told Tire Business he created the site because he saw that as the recession hit really hard, some local businesses were finding they no longer had funds available for advertising and it was getting harder and harder to compete with bigger companies. Then the social media boom hit. So he wanted to create a site for their needs.
"Basically, they can post their business for free," Todd said. "Each one of our microsites optimizes within the content that is being utilized…by the member."
Todd said that this site could be useful for a business just starting out online. The cost of building a website is substantial, however, if you buy a domain name—which is the website address and is much cheaper than the actual website building process—the business could set up the domain to route to the company's microsite on Meetlocalbiz.com.
"So they could even advertise and promote their domain name directing their consumers straight to their Meetlocalbiz microsite," he continued. "On this microsite, it's customizable to the content that they wish to push out to their consumers."
We learned from the Feb. 25 edition of Tire Business' NewsPoint online video feature that with FordDirect which surveyed consumers who recently purchased a vehicle—consumers look to businesses' social media sites for coupons and promotions. Todd said that this site is different than coupon deals on Facebook because consumers coming to the site are there specifically looking for deals from their local businesses, whereas Facebook provides a way for them to connect with people.
Members of Meetlocalbiz can create up to three coupons to post on their microsite.
If you are worried that you would forget when the coupons expire, no worries because the site will email you two weeks before expiration date to remind you. If no action is taken, it will delete itself on the expiration date to ensure visitors of the site are getting new and up-to-date information.
"So in your industry, if they wanted to have tire sales or promotions, or service specials and promotions, they could create pages specifically for that," Todd said. "They also have the ability to upload videos, so if they had a video that they were marketing on YouTube or Vimeo, or if they just want to create their own video, they can simply upload that video to their microsite."
This works the same for photos—and any marketing materials, coupons, photos, videos can be posted on your microsite. Another interesting feature of the site is the partnerships that can be formed.
"So if the tire shop partners up with the local paint shop. If the paint shops posts specials and promotions, the client, or the follower of the tire shop will receive that promotion on their wall," Todd explained.
"We've given them the ability to partner with local businesses that would have a like-minded client so that if one business acquires a follower, they could communicate if they were partnered with a liked-minded business."
Meetlocalbiz started locally in the Columbia, Md./Washington D.C., area and began to expand nationally thanks to the positive responses it was receiving from both members and visitors. It currently averages between 300 and 400 visitors daily and keeps growing.
When speaking of social media in general, Todd said one of the worst things a company can do is to have social media accounts but not be active on them.
"I think the most fatal thing one can do is set up a Facebook page and not frequently use it," he said, noting that the social media sites a company commits to maintaining "can make a statement, too."
He cited the example of a customer logging on to a blog and seeing that it hasn't been updated in up to six months, or visiting a company's Facebook page and noticing it hasn't had any new postings or been updated. That can send the wrong kind of message.
As we continue with this series of blogs on social media, and present new information to you, I know it can be overwhelming. Starting something new always is a bit hectic—and perhaps intimidating.
But it's important to remember that even if you could never see yourself obtaining information about a business through Facebook or through some sort of social media portal, there are people who regularly do that. And those are the people—your potential customers—you are trying to reach.
Still have questions? Any subjects you'd like to see covered on this blog? Let me know at 330-865-6143, email@example.com or send a message to Tire Business at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or at firstname.lastname@example.org.