How Local Businesses Use Nextdoor
“One in four households in the United States is active on the Nextdoor app.”
Sound like a good place to have an active presence?
Let’s take a look at how local business owners can use Nextdoor as a customer recommendation & referral engine.
First, some background on what the Nextdoor app is, why local businesses should be on there, and how people (and businesses) use Nextdoor.
What Is the Nextdoor App?
“Nextdoor is the neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services. Join your neighborhood.”
The Nextdoor app is a hyperlocal social networking service for neighborhoods. The company was founded in 2008 and is based in San Francisco, California.
That’s the official company line.
From us, we know Nextdoor to be an invaluable referral source for businesses – and a helpful discovery forum for local residents.
This blog post has been sitting in ‘draft‘ mode since May of 2019 when I had delusions of educating local business owners around North County San Diego as to the effectiveness of the Nextdoor app as a recommendation & referral generation engine.
Then we watched it grow. And grow.
Procrastination & priorities aside, here’s a snapshot of Google search trends that time:
It looks like the world really starting paying attention to Nextdoor around mid-to-late April of 2019.
Why Would a Lawyer, Plumber, Locksmith, Bookkeeper or Taco Joint Want to Be on Nextdoor?
Because you care about your business, your community, your staff, & your livelihood.
Nextdoor is a local neighborhood forum, sounding board, business discovery source, social network, and local search platform all-in-one.
The platform is basically segmented by neighborhoods, where people join to connect with their neighbors and local communities.
Sounds great right?
Another place to waste your time scrolling through endless rants about those pesky kids not staying off Mr. Haversham’s lawn, or what species of bee is pollinating Mrs. Crabtree’s Azaleas down the block.
Yes, there’s plenty of that on the Nextdoor app, but there’s also lots of value to be had. Businesses are central to the Nextdoor community.
Before we get into the why & how to use Nextdoor for your local business, let’s first identify how & why people – and businesses – use Nextdoor.
How Do People Use Nextdoor?
One thing is for sure, you will sometimes question yourself as to the validity of listing your business on Nextdoor.
Just endure your first political debate, or diatribe between mask-wearers and non-mask wearers (remember, it’s COVID-19 time right now), and you’ll be ready to flush your phone down the toilet.
But wait, there’s more!
Coyotes are a big thing out here in North County San Diego, nary a day goes by without the ubiquitous ‘rogue coyote spotted‘ post by a concerned neighbor.
There are plenty of opportunities to enter that political fray, debate the efficacy of face masks, and comment on wiley coyotes.
But let’s focus on the activities that will net you more new customer referrals & existing customer recommendations for your efforts.
Here are a few of the most common things people do on Nextdoor:
- Meet their neighbors
- Ask questions & poll their neighbors
- Sell & buy stuff
- Advertise services
- Organize local events
- Get recommendations for local businesses
- Post local community alerts
76% of members have been influenced by a recommendation on Nextdoor.”
Over 25% of all conversations on Nextdoor revolve around sharing recommendations for local businesses.”
How Do Businesses Use Nextdoor?
More than 25% of all conversations on the app are about local businesses.
Here’s where the rubber hits the road…67% of members share business recommendations with their neighbors. Businesses on Nextdoor have earned upward of 40 million recommendations.
What does that mean? It means that if you own a local business, you should have an active presence on Nextdoor.
Your neighbors aren’t the only people on Nextdoor. In fact, during these COVID-19 days Nextdoor has partnered with the National Governors Association, FEMA, CDC, Red Cross, thousands of public agencies, local, regional, & state departments of health, – and more.
Nextdoor has become a trusted local news source.
The strength of the Nextdoor social network relies on the power of proximity.
“Other platforms start global and offer targeting tools to help brands or businesses find their local audience. Nextdoor starts—and stays—local, right down to the postal code.”
For businesses, that means local targeting is already organically built-in to the experience.
Local business owners looking to effectively leverage Nextdoor in their local digital dental marketing stack use the platform to:
- Run Local Deal ads
- Engage with the community
- Share special offers
- Gauge their local reputation
In order for Nextdoor to be a valuable referral & recommendation engine for your dental practice, you need to:
- Claim your Nextdoor business page.
- Communicate to your customers that you have an active presence on Nextdoor.
- Engage with your local community.
- Promote local events, at work happenings, & special offers.
Let’s finally take a look at how to do all of that.
How Local Businesses Claim Nextdoor Business Pages
Just like with Facebook, in order to create a Business Page on Nextdoor you’ll first need a personal account. Here’s how to quickly do that.
How to create a Nextdoor account
- Download the Nextdoor app from the App Store or Google Play, or visit www.nextdoor.com and select Sign up.
- Input your postal code, address, & email address.
- Add your name, password, & gender.
- Add your phone number to verify your account. Or choose the postcard option. (like Google My Business)
- Confirm how you would like your address to be shown.
- Set up your profile.
Before you can participate on Nextdoor, you must verify the address used to create your account.
You may join and verify in a neighborhood if you:
- Rent or own a home.
- Own a second home.
- Own property where you are planning to build a home.
- Own a rental property in the neighborhood.
How to verify your new Nextdoor account by web/phone
To verify your account, your mobile phone plan’s billing address must match the address you used to join Nextdoor. We will send a SMS code that must be entered as instructed below:
- Visit https://nextdoor.com/verify
- Select Verify by phone.
- Choose the correct country code. Then enter your mobile phone number.
- Click Text Me A Code.
- You will receive a SMS code to the phone number you submitted. Enter this code on screen.
- Click Submit.
How to verify your new Nextdoor account by invitation letter
If you don’t verify by phone within 24 hours, Nextdoor will automatically mail an invitation letter containing a verification code to your home address. It may take up to 10 business days for the invitation letter to arrive.
Once the invitation letter arrives, you’ll need to enter the code as instructed below. If you received an invitation from a neighbor you can use the invitation code on it to verify in the same way.
- After you receive your invitation letter, visit nextdoor.com/invitation_letters/ and sign in with your email and password.
- Click Verify by invitation letter.
- Enter your verification or invitation code and click Submit.
How to Claim Your Nextdoor Business Page
Once you have setup your Nextdoor account, you can now claim & verify your Nextdoor Business Page.
- Visit www.business.nextdoor.com/local.
- Login to your personal Nextdoor account.
- Choose whether you plan to use your personal email, or a business email. (use a business email)
- Add your business name and address – then search.
- Nextdoor will provide a list of businesses and ask you to confirm whether one of them is yours. If yours is not listed, select Create new business page with this name.
- Fill in your address and click Continue.
- Add a (business) email neighbors can contact you with. You may also add a phone number and website.
- Select your business category.
- Click Create new business page.
How to Verify Your Nextdoor Business Page
You have two options to verify your Nextdoor Business Page, and you’ll want to make sure that you do one of them.
- Have someone recommend your business on Nextdoor.
- Run a Local Deal Ad. (cost starts at $1 per neighborhood – just do it, we show you how below)
That’s it, but if you do not verify your business page people will never see it. So you’d be wasting your time getting this far and not pushing through the last crucial step.
How to Optimize Your Nextdoor Business Page
Now that you’re among the forward-thinking, adaptive, opportunistic group of local North County San Diego business owners who’ve created a Nextdoor Business page, here’s how to optimize your page.
From the business profile dashboard, click Upload a logo image. This will bring you to a Basic Information form.
Guidelines for business profile information
- Cover image: Nextdoor recommends 1156 x 650 pixels.
- Logo image: 500 x 500 pixels.
- Story: A friendly, neighborly greeting does best here. Tell neighbors a little about yourself, your staff, & your business.
- Phone number
- Email address: A public business email – one that is both checked & replied from.
- Hours: Make sure this info matches Facebook, Google My Business, Yelp, & all of your other local citations.
- Categories: You can add as many categories to your business profile as you would like but if you add more than 3, we will start to collapse the additional categories in a drop-down menu which the member can click to reveal all additional selections. This is used to help us make sure your Business Page gets discovered when members are looking for help specific to your business.
- Photo Gallery: Upload photos of your work, your place of business, or the product you offer. Photos can be reordered using drag and drop.
How to Promote Your Local Business on Nextdoor
Businesses have a few choices to consider when aiming to promote your products & services on Nextdoor – and cost is not even a factor.
In order to effectively turn your Nextdoor Business Page into the recommendation & referral engine you want it to be, you needed to do a few things yourself – or someone working on your behalf to:
- Get recommendations from existing customers.
- Engage local users by replying to their questions and comments – and POSTING!
- Run Local Deals ads.
The best business pages (most viewed & most recommended) add a logo/cover image, tell their story, and respond to local users.
How to Get Recommendations on Nextdoor
Your business page will not appear in Nextdoor searches until it has three recommendations. Nextdoor suggests businesses start by sharing their Nextdoor profile on other networks.
Here’s how to do that.
- Go to Your Reputation in the left-side menu.
- Copy your link, or click the icons to share it by email, Facebook, or Twitter.
Post your page link with a short message to your social media profiles, and send an email to all customers letting them know that your business is live on Nextdoor!
How to Reply to Neighbors on Nextdoor as Your Business
Engaging with your local community – and your existing customers – is essential to the success of your Nextdoor Business Page.
Nextdoor users can tag businesses, mention them in their personal posts, write comments on business pages, or send private messages to businesses. Being responsive to these tags, mentions, comments, and private messages is where the engagement factor enters the picture.
It’s just not enough to verify & optimize your Business Page, you need to maintain an active engaging presence – by responding to the tags, mentions, comments, and private messages as your Business Page.
To respond to comments:
- Click Neighbor comments in the left menu.
- Choose a comment and select Write a reply. Add your message.
- Click Reply to send.
To respond to private messages you’ll do basically the same thing:
- Go to the Inbox tab in the left-hand sidebar.
- Choose a private message to reply to and click Write your reply to respond.
- Click Reply to send.
How to Post to Your Business Page on Nextdoor
The Posts feature is totally new, we just started seeing it last week (June 7, 2020). For Business Pages on Nextdoor, the ability to post images, links, & other content was not even available until now.
There also appears to be a monthly limit on the number of Posts businesses can publish, at this time (June 16, 2020) it looks to be two per month.
The new Posts feature is promising in my opinion, we’ll see if it sticks around or how it changes. Currently, there are six options for Posts:
- Job posting
Posts are a great way to accomplish all three of your goals on Nextdoor – getting more recommendations, engaging with your community, & acquiring more referrals.
Here’s how to do it:
How To Create Local Deals Ads on Nextdoor
Local Deal Ads are the primary paid advertising product on the Nextdoor app, the setup is super-easy, and you have the opportunity to cherry-pick the individual neighborhoods in your local area.
Here’s how to create a Local Deal Ad:
- From your business account, click the Content tab on the left-hand menu, then Create a Local Deal.
- Choose 1 of 4 ad options – Percent Off, Fixed Discount, Buy One Get One Free (BOGO), or a Custom Deal.
- Give your ad a title. (ex: $1000 Off Invisalign, 25% Off Without Insurance…etc. depending on the ad option you choose – 100 character limit)
- Write a description of your deal, the limit is 1000 characters for the description field.
- Choose the Duration, Deal Type, & Primary Call to Action Button.
- Duration: 30 days, 14 days, 7 days, or custom. Choose & click.
- Deal Type: Should people redeem online or in person? Choose & click.
- Primary Button: Message Business, Call Business, Email Business. Choose & click.
- Add a link to your website – or landing page.
- If applicable, add terms and conditions. You can also add a unique redemption code.
- Add a photo – 1156 x 600 pixels, or choose one from the stock gallery. (Yes, category themed images are available for free)
- Preview your Local Deal Ad.
- Select your target audience. You can use the toggle to adjust according to neighborhood or price and search audiences within a 10-mile radius by postal code. The price you see is a one-time flat rate. According to Nextdoor, the average Local Deal costs about $75.
- Click Next.
- Review your order. If you’re a first-time customer, you’ll also need to add payment details.
- Click Submit Order.
What do you think, would a Local Deal Ad on Nextdoor work?
Well, it depends on a few criteria:
- How compelling your offer is.
- What locations you’re targeting.
- If you chose the best deal type and ad option.
- Your chosen primary call to action.
- Your ability to quickly & efficiently receive, qualify, & appoint people who contact you from your ad.
But, I don’t really see any disadvantages to a local business owner testing out a few Local Deal Ads on Nextdoor – especially in these lean times.
It’s relatively inexpensive, there is no cap on the number of leads you can receive, and there are no contracts or recurring costs.
Will Nextdoor Offer More Advertising Options In the Future?
No telling, but I’d venture to say yes.
Currently, Nextdoor allows some larger regional or national advertisers to run a different ad product, Sponsored Posts – much like Facebook.
For now, businesses that are interested in Sponsored Posts can register here to be notified of future opportunities.
While Sponsored Posts are probably not something too applicable for a local business at the moment, they certainly can be an effective bluewater tactic for a regional or national chain.
Take Your Nextdoor Business Page to the Next Level
Nextdoor runs an annual drive called “Neighborhood Favorites“ to encourage its community of users to vote on their favorite businesses.
You encourage your local community to vote for your business as a Nextdoor Neighborhood Favorite during this annual contest. Here’s one way a client of ours did just that:
Nextdoor offers a toolkit that includes social media images, posters, and even printable postcards. I highly recommend downloading it and entering your practice in the contest this year!
Winning earns your business bragging rites—especially since only 1% of business on the Nextdoor app earns the honor.
Favorites winners also nab storefront stickers, an in-app trophy icon, and an orange banner on their Nextdoor Business Page.
Being named a Neighborhood Favorite would also improve your Nextdoor search ranking results, and lands you on the app’s Favorites lists. On top of that, crowned companies receive one free Local Deal ad.
According to Nextdoor, winners end up with 30 times the recommendations on their business page compared with the average.
These Business Pages also see 3x the number of Business Pageviews and 4x the number of saves on their Local Deals.
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