Social media can be a great way to keep up with friends all over the country and even the world. But what about what’s happening locally? Sure, you could organize your Facebook friends and Twitter feed so that you mainly interact with local people and businesses, but there is a lot more that you can do in order to localize your social media experience. Some sites are specifically designed to bring a local social media experience to their users. Others offer great deals to local shoppers who can get their friends and acquaintances to purchase something as a group.
If you care about what is happening in your neighborhood, city or region, these social media sites can help you keep up with what’s going on.
If you want to utilize social media sites to find out about local deals, then Living Social should be on the top of your list. This site offers deals to participants based on where they live. These deals in and of themselves are a nice perk, with some offering more than 50% off of local restaurants, services and stores. At the same time, Living Social also has a social element. If you can get people to buy the same deal as you through the link that you provide, then you get a discount or even have the fee for the deal waived entirely. Perhaps not everyone would be comfortable trying to “sell” a certain deal to their friends. But if it is a worthwhile offer (as many of Living Social’s deals are), then it makes it easier to tell your friends about it and hope that they come along for the ride.
Patch is a completely different kind of site. It is not a social media site, per se, but does offer a high level of interaction and a very localized focus. Patch aims to give local news and information to readers, much like a community newspaper would. Patch is written mainly by professional and part-time journalists, but readers can send tips and make announcements, adding a unique social element to the site. Users can be sure that local readers in their city or town will see their announcement. For the most locally-focused interaction, this is arguably the best choice of any site out there because each town has its own specific and separate site. This makes Patch invaluable for local businesses and people who want to communicate with the people in their city, and not anyone else.
This site is the grandfather of social buying sites, and it is still going strong (though it has plenty of competition these days). Groupon offers more local deals in more places than any other social buying sites out there including Living Social. The catch: this is truly a social buying site. If not enough people purchase a specific deal, then it is not activated (and your credit card or debit card is not charged). This brings a truly social element to the site and makes it fun and exciting to participate in.
Foursquare is one of the original location-based social media sites, and it remains one of the best tools for keeping in touch with local businesses and with friends in your city. Businesses can use Foursquare to post deals and promotions and interact with customers. There is also a game-like element to Foursquare, with users who “check in” to a specific place more than anyone else earning the status of “mayor” for the next two months. All users can add up “points,” adding to the game-like feel of this site. At its heart though, this is a place for local businesses to interact with customers. A new mobile Foursquare apps make that easier than ever to do.