Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Consumer Contributions to Social Media - Maps & Apps Affecting Local Business

Are consumer posts in social media, reviews - photos and additions to maps and other apps affecting local business?  Are they affecting your brand?

Additions to apps like Google Maps, Yelp and Trip Advisor are simplifying distribution of customer reviews.  They are building immediate access to consumer views of brands through easy distribution of consumer reviews including photos taken by consumers, feeding directly into local listings in mobile maps and online directories.
Consumer reviews are also leveling the playing field for the local business.  The fact that consumers can contribute to online maps and directories enables the local business to be accessed and addresses to be found by thousands of consumers, with no marketing cost to the local business.  Applications like Google Maps, Yelp and Trip  Advisor enable consumers to directly communicate with business owners, share experiences and resolve issues.  These applications are threaded with social media, providing the ability for consumers to share recommendations with friends and contacts through social media, granting direct access to reviews and photos.

Consumers are opting to participate and contribute to reviews and add photos because they enjoy seeing their contributions included in favorite places they have visited.  They enjoy seeing other consumer feedback and believe their contributions will assist other consumers as they make buying decisions.

Google launched a program to increase consumer contributions to Google Maps.   They encourage consumers to "Share Your World on Google Maps" Google notes, "Local Guides is a global community of explorers, sharing their discoveries on Google Maps."   The program encourages consumers from local areas to communicate via Local Guide Communities - share experiences and meet up with each other in new locations.  Google+ Collections are shared to show local experiences and contributions to the map are easily found by the contributor and Local Guide programs encourage consistent contributions.

As more consumers use mobile devices, mobile apps will drive increased engagement of consumer contributions and local businesses will benefit exponentially from these contributions.