Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

Small and medium brands may not wish to heed the words of actress Elisabeth Shue, often cast in girl-next-door movie roles, who was recently quoted as saying, “I may be the girl next door, but you wouldn’t want to live next to me.” Word-of-mouth, recommendations, influencer marketing and positive comments and reviews are more valuable than ever today as more consumers are willing to try different brands.

Marketing tech firm ClickZ recently blogged about why SMB marketers might want to consider a different avenue to reach consumers more affordably: Nextdoor. Founded in 2008 as a social networking platform for communities, Nextdoor has expanded to 270,000 neighborhoods in 11 countries. It serves about one in four homes in the U.S. The platform has two distinct strengths. First, it connects people in the same neighborhood with each other and requires address verifications before allowing participation. The other is that more than 50 million neighborhood businesses have received recommendations for their goods and/or services from community members through it.

In his 2000 book, “Bowling Alone,” Robert Putnam described the American community’s collapse and how people had become disconnected from each other. The demise of bowling leagues was but one example, and he also laid out suggestions on how the trend might be reversed. Although a community social platform wasn’t one of Putnam’s recommendations, the popularity of consumer recommendations may be what led Nextdoor to begin accepting and selling ads in 2017. Nearly half (47 percent) of SMBs polled by customer data and marketing platform company Clutch in 2018 reported annual digital budgets under $10,000. The majority also said they used their websites and/or social media to market their businesses.

The advantage SMBs have in advertising on Nextdoor is that there are two opportunities: Neighborhood Sponsorships and Local Deals. Rates on both are lower than other social media, and for SMBs on small budgets, this is extremely important.

SMBs wishing to use Nextdoor first need to purchase a sponsorship, which can cost as little as $10 per zip code. Doing so allows the brand to target specific zip codes, make two organic monthly posts, and be seen as the community expert. These posts also appear in the neighborhood’s newsfeed and daily digest emails.

By purchasing a sponsorship, the brand can then establish its own and all-important business page. It’s here where a brand can receive neighborhood recommendations, the lifeblood of neighborhood SMBs. According to ClickZ, nearly 70 percent of Nextdoor members have posted and shared recommendations on the site, while more than 75 percent reported the recommendation of a neighbor influenced them.

With its high saturation and participation rate in local neighborhoods, Nextdoor may be the ideal platform for brands to interact with their neighbors while gaining potential customers’ attention. Sharing updates on a regular basis, as well as regular monitoring and responding to neighbors, will also be important for success.

Local Deals afford SMBs the opportunity to promote the brand and offer discounts. Creating it is made easier with the Local Deal ad tool’s help, and viewing it even easier on Nextdoor’s Insights Dashboard.

Together, Neighborhood Sponsorships and Local Deals may be the launchpads for SMBs to expand and grow their markets on NextDoor as we return to a new normal.


Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading NY PR firm.