Why Small Businesses Should Optimize for Local-Social Search
As we go down to the local level, social media plays an important role in determining consumer choices, as people start taking recommendations from friends and family seriously. If a search engine can deliver accurate localized results and supplement them with social media reactions, it would guarantee satisfaction for the end consumer and a target for the business.
There are two important concepts need to be understood in context: Local Search and Social Search.
Local Search would pertain to a search of businesses and entities in and around a clearly demarcated area (locality, suburb, city, or even state/country).
Social Search would mean a combing of the various social media ‘events’ (posts, tweets, updates, and many, many more) to arrive at the desired results.
Local Social Search, or Loc-Soc Search as I like to call it, appears to be the prime target for Small and Medium Enterprises or Small Business as the dust settles down on all the new breakthroughs viz. twitter, social search, facebook, local search and other social media. It is, as the name suggests, a mixture of Social Search and Local Search.
Some examples for potential Loc-Soc Search are Google Social Search (which apparently has been down lately), Google Place Pages (to aggregate reviews, photos, details and maps), Yelp, Twitter, Facebook , Yahoo! Local and MySpace, among many others.
If businesses can moderate social media reactions about themselves, it would be a great boost for their visibility in Loc-Soc Search queries. For enterprises who take this lightly, or ignore it altogether, it could spell doomsday in the future. With the world shrinking by the second, what people say about you will be more important, regardless of what your copy says.
The key to survival, specially for the localised small businesses, will be to be on top of a dynamically altered search engine output, which can be only achieved through quality service, good word-of-mouth and positive relationships with consumers.