For some small operations with large local—and even global—potential, the physical space of an office can be an unnecessary cost.
Instead, a social media presence and an online community that buzzes and vouches for you are what now attracts new customers.
Online communities have proven to be great destinations for customers seeking information about a business. And accolades of real life users can easily make you stand out from your competitors.
Companies using Web 2.0 techniques, like Yelp, have contributed to the mix and are actively working to help businesses gain user-approved credibility. Newer companies like Fav Rav, Service Magic and Angie’s List often implement the framework of social media sites like Facebook to reach a larger, yet still customized, audience.
I spoke with Fav Rav founder Bill Manos about how his company can help small business owners and their customers.
Fast, Positive Attention
“What we’re doing at Fav Rav is reducing the time it takes most businesses to get the word [out] about their business. We’re providing the tool that gets your customers to create the buzz about your business for you,” says Manos. “It’s the easiest way for a small business to get online visibility.” They’re using social media to get your customers referring you within their circle.
Easy Communication and Reliable Reviews
Essentially, Fav Rav provides a micro-site for a business, which acts as a profile page and displays all of a business’s contact info. The idea is to make it easy for users to talk about businesses within their private community of pre-approved people. It’s a Facebook-enabled site, so it only deals with the people your customers already know. That means those listening are really listening because they’re vouched for through life’s personal referral service—real friendships.
On Yelp, from the consumer-side, users see everyone’s review. With Fav Rav, reviews are only seen by the user’s circle of friends on Facebook.
Memberships vs. Advertising
The models of sites like Yelp and Citysearch however are largely based around advertising. Not the case for Fav Rav, which has a flat-rate subscription model for $29 a month.
“We’re just trying to get to the good stuff. That’s why the single-person small business is so important to us,” says Manos. “We filter it down and cater more to someone like a realtor. A realtor couldn’t get 1,000 people to write a review.”
Servicing the Niche Businesses