How many times have you requested a recommendation on Facebook? How many times have you responded to someone else's request?
Recommendations such as these are popular because they work. People trust the referrals and references of those they know best. They outrank online reviews. Reviews are great to provide an overall picture of a company's service but getting a direct reference from someone you know has way more power.
Facebook is a great place to ask questions but what about when you need to ask for recommendations that are more local like your neighborhood? The friends you have on Facebook usually don't live directly in your neighborhood. That's where Next Door comes in and here lately, COVID19 has ramped up Next Door usage and signups. Why?
Our area like many others is experiencing a high volume of people relocating to the area. Over half are coming from other states. A few relocate within the same area - from east Asheville to south Asheville, for example but the majority are coming from other cities and other states. Not only that, people are relocating at a faster pace than usual. Rather than taking 3 years to make a decision, some are moving quite quickly because they are no longer stuck in their expensive house or apartment in a dense, urban city. They can work remotely and are taking the opportunity to finally choose where they live while continuing to work for their employers. Others have decided to go ahead and retire and choose to be close to family members, especially when travel by plane is restricted. At least if they go ahead and move close by, they can visit their grand children and family members more frequently.
Relocating means a lot of new people to the area who will need to re-establish everything - estate planning lawyer, accountant, financial advisor, dentist, salon, and more. It also means hiring new services for home renovation, repair or new construction - electricians, plumbers, landscapers, you name it. Guess where many of these people go to get recommendations for these services? You got it, Next Door.
Last week in one day, I counted 27 people who had moved from another state to my neighborhood in October and November. I also counted over 25 people who had moved to the Oakley area just from California. I also responded to 6 requests for recommendations in one day. The power of microneighborhood social media platforms is obvious.
So, if your business provides services within a neighborhood area, then you need to get on Next Door pronto. You can create a business profile page much like Facebook. You can also advertise.
Pros and Cons of Next Door
Pro - They only began offering business pages in October 2019. Now is your chance to get on there before its saturated.
Con - Expect changes - frequently to the platform specifically in advertising. They have Next Door is still working out how they wish to monetize the platform.
Pro - Advertising is very affordable. If you're a small, local business you can create an ad for as little as $10 to $30 a month and reach over 5000 people.
Con - Advertising hasn't quite taken off yet and it's not quite in the main news feed yet. It will take time to gain exposure.
Pro - Business profiles are free and very easy to setup.
Recommendations on Next Door
You can make recommendations on Next door and they are powerful. If you respond to someone's posted request, chances are much higher that the person or company recommended will be reviewed - their website or profile. Be sure to be specific about your recommendation. I've even heard from associates that they've asked not to be recommended because they handle all the extra calls (this was in the area of landscaping and yard work).
When you make a recommendation you can tag that business if they have a business profile on Next Door (ahem... if you're a small business, this is another reason to get your profile on there now).
I am going to go ahead and put it out there that recommendations made on Next Door are more powerful than a google or Facebook review. Micro-neighborhood recommendations rise above Yelp, Trip Advisor and even Angie's List.
Monitor Your Reputation
I also highly recommend monitoring your business on Next Door. As much as people can recommend your business they can also provide a negative review. This is not good because if you don't know about it, you may not know to respond to the review or to address whatever the problem is. If your business is not tagged then you will not receive a notification like you do from Facebook, Google or other review platforms.