If you are a small business, restaurant or service provider, then you need to add Patch.com to your social media marketing toolbox.
What is Patch.com?
According to the Patch.com website, ” Patch is a new way to find out about, and participate in, what’s going on near you.” Essentially, it is a hyper-local city-specific online resource for local news, events, discussions, photos and directory for business. The Los Angeles Times carried an article titled “Trying to Patch into the hyper-local news market” that provides a good overview of Patch and there is more on their About webpage. Patch.com is now owned by AOL and each local Patch.com site has a local editor who oversees the publication and is responsible for creating content with the help of volunteer citizen journalists.
Patch.com has been rolling out local “patches” since 2009 and the map below shows where Patch.com is available.
In Manhattan Beach where I live, we have been lucky to have manhattanbeach.patch.com for more than a year now. Even though we have two very good weekly newspapers (The Beach Reporter and The Easy Reader), Patch provides a valuable service that goes beyond the weekly print publications. For example, our Manhattan Beach Patch often breaks local news stories before they are reported by other publications and they do a great job of covering local sports.
How Can Patch.com help promote your business?
Patch has several ways to promote your business.
Claim your listing – Each local Patch has a section called Places where local businesses are offered free listings. Most of the directory has already been completed with rudimentary information about local businesses. To maximize their profile, business owners should claim their listing which will let you update and add additional information or pictures too.
Add events – You can also add events to a business listing. Are you having a special event in your restaurant this month? Are you sponsoring a charitable event? Patch lets you easily add events that can be tied to your business listing.
Advertise on Patch – Finally, Patch offers paid advertising for local business too.
Encourage reviews and ratings – Patch users can also rank and rate businesses listed on Patch.com. So make sure to remind your customers that you are on Patch and ask them to rate you.
What does a Patch.com profile look like?
I am actually taking my own advice and set up a business profile on Patch.com last week. As I am an independent consultant without a real address, I was not automatically added to the list of businesses in Manhattan Beach. So, I submitted my information and created a listing for my consulting business. Now that the listing has been activated, I can add photos, videos and PDFs to my profile too – plus the listing uses SEO-friendly URLs as well (http://manhattanbeach.patch.com/listings/the-humbarger-consulting-group in my case).