Have you heard of NextDoor?
There are roughly 89035493085430825908 apps out there these days, but only some can make a splash like Nextdoor has in recent months.
And for individuals as well as businesses, this app is a gold mine. We’ll tell you why in a second.
So what’s the deal? What does this little fish have on the big fish we all know and love?
Nextdoor: a free, private social network on a mission to bring together neighborhoods and communities
(and neighborhood businesses, but we’ll get to that later)
Hence, its mission statement, “to provide a trusted platform where neighbors work together to build stronger, safer, happier communities, all over the world.”
The idea behind it is that while big players like Facebook and Twitter bring people together from all over the world, sometimes we just need to be plugged into the people living right next door to us – a lesson we would probably all say we could brush up on.
But in order to get “looped in,” you have to do a little more than plug in your name and email address.
In fact, Nextdoor relies on a verification system you might think is a little much, but there’s a method to the madness!
Nextdoor is all about that quality over quantity thing, and by making sure that those who join your virtual neighborhood are REALLY people in your neighborhood, the app reduces clutter, trolls, and useless information.
(Hey marketing people – this app creates a super reliable list of REAL people in your community all gathered together in one place, sharing their thoughts and feelings and RECOMMENDATIONS…this is literally free market research IF you live in the community and can join the neighborhood by the book!)
Here’s how to join as an INDIVIDUAL…
Most importantly, you have to be a real human.
Then you have to be a real human that either rents a home, owns a home, OR is building a home in the neighborhood you’re trying to get cozy with.
(This is a great system for keeping out the weirdos who want to “join your neighborhood” from the computer in their mother’s basement)
Here’s how you go about joining the fun:
- Join neighborhood
- Verify address
- Confirm email
- Install Nextdoor on device of your choice
- Introduce yourself
How to join as a BUSINESS…
Nextdoor recently decided to integrate local businesses into the fabric of its neighborhood app. Businesses are now able to create and claim their own pages, gaining the ability to see where Nextdoor members have recommended their services in the process.
Additionally, business owners can view and reply to comments shared with them and receive private messages, creating a pretty valuable network of feedback for local businesspeople.
Privacy is still Nextdoor’s top priority, so businesses do have a few limitations. They are only able to see the comments that others have chosen to share with them.
By connecting local businesses to their neighbors, Nextdoor is facilitating a unique line of communication between consumers and service providers – benefiting both parties.
What do people use Nextdoor for?
Since your network is highly local and filled with people you’ve probably met in real life (imagine that!!!!), you’ll probably use the app trusting that the answers from your neighbors will be legitimate, timely, and helpful.
You might use Nextdoor to…
- Find recommendations (painters, babysitters, dog walkers, etc)
- Organize community events
- Make announcements
- Buy and sell things
- Watch for suspicious activity / crime watch
***Ding ding ding!!! Important for local businesses right here!!!
No one is stopping local business owners from joining as individuals and reading about what people like and dislike!
Think about it, guys.
We’ve got people offering recommendations on local products and services. Maybe you want to figure out what people are really jonesing to get – what services do they need? What do they like and dislike?
Determine what their problems are, and then become the solution.
….just a thought.
How is it different from other sites?
This is a legitimate inquiry….
You’re probably thinking that the whole thing is redundant if you’ve got Facebook, but I’m sayin’ it isn’t so. There are some key differences between social media Goliaths and this little David of an app, and they create unique strengths.
Numero uno: Nextdoor cuts out the junk.
It’s amazing what happens when you don’t have 7,000 friends.
You suddenly aren’t sucked into videos about oreo grilled cheese or baby goats, and you definitely don’t find yourself wondering when so many of your friends passed the bar exam.
No, what happens is that you get a small circle of people sharing relevant information, and this creates a much more efficient space (and could reveal very specific community needs that you could meet as a business owner).
Also, the soapbox disappears.
Nextdoor has some pretty strict rules about what’s okay and what’s not okay for you to discuss on their platform.
In fact, they explicitly say that you cannot “berate, belittle, troll, swear,” etc. (and if you do, your friendly neighbors are encouraged to report you).
Nextdoor also encourages you to use the app only to discuss local issues (*cough cough* not national politics)
….though that rule is becoming a little confusing considering the buzz about its display of politically targeted ads on users’ accounts and and its initiation of forums for political discourse.
But I digress.
The bottom line remains that Nextdoor strives to “create a kind of area in the service where those conversations can happen, and people can passionately argue one way or another,” and the effort is to make the app noticeably different from huge networks where people feel more comfortable with online aggression.
Nextdoor to the rescue
Yes, it’s pretty great that Nextdoor can help you find a home for your aunt’s couch you really never asked for, but that’s not why the app has found itself in the news lately.
One of the coolest things about Nextdoor is that it has literally helped save lives, especially in light of the relentless hurricane season 2017 has seen so far.
While sites like Facebook and Twitter were definitely used as lifelines to ask for help as floodwaters were rising in Houston, they weren’t always the best tools. Their sheer size meant that the updates coming in through an individual’s news feed, while possibly local, included news and people completely irrelevant to the reality in their neighborhood.
People leaned on Nextdoor to show its might, and it didn’t disappoint.
Nextdoor did what the big networks couldn’t do. Its nature is to zero in on a local community, and that focus resulted in superior organizational efforts as cries for help found their ways to the right people in the right amount of time, especially when 911 was nonresponsive.
One user explained, “Everyone that you’re connecting with is in a radius where the same thing that’s happening to you is most likely happening to them,” she said. “It helps a lot.”
2 Main Reasons You Should Keep an Eye on These Guys…
- It’s a gold mine of customer research for local business owners interested in hearing what people in their immediate communities like, dislike, and need.
- It’s an app bringing people together in a time marked by so much divisiveness (often aided by online media and social networks)
Pair some life saving technology with a cool marketing opportunity, and DSM is into it.
Go check it out yourself!