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BizReport : Social Marketing : February 17, 2011

More ads, businesses going social

2011 may become the Year of Social. New ad units with social capabilities are launched each week and nearly every day a new business - many times a local business - is signing on to create social networking profiles. Is this new social consciousness helping consumers and advertisers?

by Kristina Knight

"We've had our Facebook page about six months," said Linda Anderson, Belly Buster's BBQ in Ashland, Ohio. The hometown restaurant has 150 followers on the social network. "People look us up to see the specials or any events. We've done Valentine's and Super Bowl specials and we had a [Cleveland] Browns player come in. People come in and talk about our page. It's not huge, but it is working."

According to MerchantCircle up to 70% of small businesses in their network are using social networks, specifically Facebook, to engage with consumers in their neighborhood, city or state. That makes Facebook a bigger advertising partner for local businesses than Google, which has a 66% use rate for small/local businesses in the network.

Because of the high consumer use of social networks, businesses are taking note and ad networks aren't far behind. This week ad network RadiumOne announced plans to place a 'like' button within ads, giving consumers the ability to share ads, products or deals with friends through their social networks. For consumers the key is engagement. For brands it is the ability to 'see' what consumers like or don't within the ad space. From there, brands can brainstorm more engaging campaigns.

"The rise of everything social has been the largest Internet trend in years--and it was only a matter of time before this was applied to advertising," said Gurbaksh Chahal, Founder and CEO of RadiumOne. "We are letting consumers create their own intent graph--and when advertisers can serve consumers the exact ads they want to see, everyone wins."

Is the social integration working? Only time will tell, but even small results like increasing the number of followers is likely to have a trickle-down effect - bringing more interested consumers to businesses websites and social profiles, and then through their brick-and-mortar doors.

Tags: business profiles, local ads, local marketing, social marketing, social profiles

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