What do you get when you mix social media and local search? Well the team at Yahoo Local would like you to think they have the answer. They may not be too far from wrong.
Social media sites have become all the rage as they bring human connection and interaction to an electronic world. We can share photos with not only friends and family, but the entire world, tell others what we think of a particular product, upload movies of the crazy stuff we do in our spare time, or chat with anyone who happens to find their way to our little space on the web.
On the search front, local and mobile searches are the new frontier as users determine that finding the nearest Greek restaurant in their little corner of the world is more useful than finding restaurants in Greece... unless their corner of the world lists Greece as the mailing address.
Social and local are two highly competitive areas that many are working hard to capture, and what better way than through combining the two. Yahoo Local just announced new features to further their position within this arena. They are tightening up the integration of user reviews with social aspects, like the ability to comment on other users' reviews. Social interaction takes on a whole different element with local search. Reviews from your neighbors about the restaurants and businesses in your own city are hard to top.
The implications for local businesses are huge, perhaps one of the biggest influencers in decades. Whether you are a small mom-and-pop or a corporation with stores in every major city, tapping into your local web presence has never been more important. Encouraging your customers to review your business could be some of the most important advertising you engage in this year. But whatever you do, fight the urge to falsely "self-propagate" your online reputation... the negative reviews that will come out when that is discovered could be some of the most damaging advertising.