Supporting local businesses

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I think it's fair to say that although most things are available to us at a click of a mouse (from near or far) it is seen as more socially responsible to seek and use local produce. Whether it’s TV celeb Gordon Ramsey pointing out that local ingredients are the best, or kiwi companies advertising that products are kiwi made. ‘Local’ stands for quality, supporting your area’s economy and taking care of people, communities and businesses that you value.

But with an online global network it can sometimes be difficult to find smaller businesses and why should your customers search worldwide when you’re just down the road? What does Jo Blogs Ltd know about Mrs Smith around the corner that you don’t? You just need someone to tell Mrs Smith that you’re there and a recommendation has more merit if it’s from a local.

Whilst we love our neighbours there are more efficient ways of getting recommendations in this digital age than a chin-wag over the fence (although that’s always nice), after all we are a bunch of people that are used to researching online. We know that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising (read this article) and that to go ‘viral’ means great things. But where do you start?

Stuff reports that "Digital communications and social media has become a facilitator of word-of-mouth marketing, as it's now much easier to refer. Those conversations used to be exclusively around the water cooler in the office, or the barbecue on the weekend but they've now extended into social media tools”. But do you have the time and know-how?

Someone local (us) has realised this and is about to launch something that should get independent businesses, targeting local markets, quite excited. Localist will go to market next year, initially in the Auckland region, aggregating local business information online, building connections between communities and businesses, using social media.

For consumers it’s an opportunity to recommend ‘what’s good around here’ and a first port of call for finding relevant and current information on local businesses, activities and events in the community. For you it means a greater local presence and an opportunity to find customers nearby and expand local relationships.

So whilst this is a ‘heads up’ you can start getting involved now. Right now you can find out more and, crucially, register your business contact details for free. Then tell us here, on Facebook or Twitter (@localistnz) what you think of this service.