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A couple of weeks ago at the Social Loco event held at Mission Bay Conference Center (same place we’ll be holding our Deals 3D July 18 and 19), I met up with longtime industry innovator Justin Sanger. No doubt you remember Sanger from his days as founder of LocalLaunch, which eventually was acquired by RHD (now Dex One). Sanger and his chief strategy officer, Aaron Lacheta briefed me on their latest foray into the local space — named JoinLocal.

JoinLocal is diving deep into the social local space. JoinLocal is a social engagement platform that helps SMBs identify, engage, motivate and reward their most loyal customers (and other segments, including employees, partners and vendors) to form what Justin calls an “Advocate Network.”

Sanger describes a business’s advocate as someone “who is a vocal supporter that actively recommends a business on- and offline. Together, advocates form an active sales channel.”  What JoinLocal’s platform can do is help SMBs engage their advocates, with structured and unstructured campaigns that include news/information, offers, events, surveys, polls and other content. They also motivate, track and reward advocates to perform social actions, including positive word of mouth, such as reviews and referrals. Like LocalLaunch, JoinLocal will white-label its platform and product to work though the traditional channel to sell to SMBs domestically and internationally.

JoinLocal’s approach certainly resonates with us here at BIA/Kelsey. We are a small business by most definitions — fewer than 100 employees. And we do have advocates — many of you reading this blog are our advocates and we thank you for it. And while our marketing team does a great job of engaging with many of you, we have not figured out a systematic way to identify you, engage you, organize you and grow the numbers of our advocates. I think this is precisely what Sanger and team are up to at JoinLocal, and if they can pull this off, we’ll quickly become one of their advocates.

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