In the past week we’ve examined, or at least loosely discussed, how all of this social media, local search, and mobile marketing buzz affects our local Carlsbad small businesses.

SoLoMo digital marketing is here to stay, embrace it sooner rather than later to save money and capitalize on opportunity while competitors languish or make excuses.

In Part 1 of our Google buying Zagat examination – we use that term loosely – we chose to highlight how that Wall St. acquisition impacts Main St. small businesses right here in Carlsbad.

how_google_buying_zagat_impacts_san_diego_small_business_traffic_sign

Photo Courtesy of Dani Simmonds

Just in case all the sarcasm missed the mark, or the in-depth analysis was a bit too…let’s say…esoteric (sarcasm intended), we bring you Part Deux of our Google/Zagat diatribe.

Search and Social

Zagat built their name being amongst the first and most successful user-generated content publishers communicating positive word of mouth about bars and restaurants around the world.

Google built their empire around search advertising and pay per click search engine marketing.

The two were actually headed in different directions; Zagat was losing traction given the trend of people now taking to the internet to share their innermost culinary experiences with the masses, for free.

Google continues their meteoric rise toward galactic domination.

Google has mucho ducats to throw around…like more than the GDP of most industrialized nations, mucho.

And they’re throwing their weight around in social media, local search, and mobile communication since the Yelp deal slipped away a couple of years ago.

how_google_buying_zagat_impacts_san_diego_small_businessSo what does Google see in acquiring Zagat?

Online reviews, user-generated content, and opportunity.

  • Google+ = #1 Facebook competitor
  • Google acquiring Zagat = online review publication

If Google thinks it’s important, our Carlsbad small businesses better get on board the SoLoMo train before we’re relegated to perpetual damage control.

Whether we aim to build local search citations for our own businesses, or simply transmit peer experience of those we patronize, one thing is certain – Google is the carnival barker!

According to the NY Times article highlighting the purchase; Local online advertising is an increasingly lucrative market, one that analysts estimate to be about $140 billion a year.

Google estimates that about 20 percent of its daily searches are for things that are nearby, and that percentage is even higher for queries made on mobile phones. how_google_buying_zagat_impacts_san_diego_small_business

The NYT piece goes on to mention:

“All of these are users wondering where they should go, where they should spend their time, so to be able to offer accurate information is important, and that’s why we’ve been getting focused on reviews,” Marissa Mayer, Google’s vice president for local, maps and location services, said in an interview.

So what does this mean for our Carlsbad Small Businesses?

Google is barging through the door of social media and online reviews, sans the polite knocking. We need to gain their trust, court their attention, and enlist our customers help.

Google is THE info outlet, your business pass muster?

Trust is everything.

And it begins with the proper publication of NAP (name, address, phone) info.

It’s amazing how many businesses actually have inaccurate name, address, and phone information on public display.

Fearful and ignorant is no way to build (or maintain) a financially profitable, emotionally rewarding, civically active, and overall successful Carlsbad small business.

Of course this goes without saying, but managing your San Diego small business online reputation has everything to do with what you do offline.

Whether we dig ditches, shine shoes, underwrite complex financial instruments, or pen incredibly pedantic virtually unread blog posts, our reputation is something we build over time.

We can’t go buy it, and nobody can give it to us.

It sounds old fashioned…we actually need to earn it.