Author: Gary Anderson, Production Director

Social Media? Really?

I remember – precisely – my reaction when I saw the email. “Honey…what the heck is this invite you just sent me?” As I peered at my iPhone, trying to comprehend what my wife had just signed me up for, all I could think was, “Great. Another account to have to manage. Another password to have to keep track of, and yet another social media platform that I will find to be a colossal waste of time.”

That was my introduction to Nextdoor. Man…was I wrong.

If you’re unfamiliar, Nextdoor is a hyper-local social media platform that provides a digital means for you to communicate with your neighbors (because, apparently, stepping out onto the lawn and actually talking with them is just too hard). Also, when I say “neighbors,” I don’t mean virtual neighbors. I mean real ones. Like…the ones who live next door or across the street rather than in the adjacent suburb or across the country. But, more than just being a neighborhood Slack channel, Nextdoor is a conduit to facilitate HOA activities or a neighborhood version of Craigslist. As in, “You know…this is a great chest of drawers. I hate to just throw it away.” Why not post it on Nextdoor? Maybe one of the neighbors could use it?

Nextdoor has been around for about five years, but like many start-ups, sometimes finding the right audience takes time, especially when you’re positioning yourself as the “Anti-Facebook.” That traction reached critical mass last week as Nextdoor began rolling out native advertising, and with a user base expected to be in the hundreds of millions by the end of the decade, that’s a potential audience for advertisers that is unprecedented. Think about it. The small Mom-and-Pop Italian restaurant around the corner can now afford to advertise directly to the people in its neighborhood. Even big advertisers can leverage the home-address data Nextdoor offers that few – if any – other social media platforms can offer.

Let’s say there is a large hailstorm that affects a very specific neighborhood or two…The Home Depot could target that audience with discounts on essential items like batteries, plywood, and tarps.

Like most social media, I was skeptical at first. But Nextdoor has proven itself to me over the past year. I’ve seen more dogs returned to their owners, more valued recommendations, and more relevant direct communication with people who live in my neighborhood than I saw in the 12 years prior (after we bought our home in 2004).

Give it a look. It’s finally a social media platform that isn’t a colossal waste of time.

References

  1. Heine, Christopher. “Why Nextdoor Believes It Can Be Social Media’s Next $1 Billion Advertising Machine.” Adweek, April 12, 2017.
  2. Nextdoor.