Are you struggling to find information to share on your Facebook business page?
Beyond doing the dirty hands-on work of interviewing local school principals and reviewing dishes from every restaurant in town, how can you keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening so that your Facebook followers hear it from you first?
Download the right mobile apps, set up a few simple email alerts and you can keep an eye on local news in just minutes a day.
From transportation to development plans to new restaurants, if it’s important in your community, find out who’s talking about it and follow the conversation.
Over time, you’ll get a feel for where the news is coming from and all you’ll need to do is scan your sources regularly.
With only a few characters per post, Twitter is quick and easy to scan. Choose some good sources of local content and over time Twitter will offer up more suggestions.
I recommend starting with these Twitter feeds from within your community:
- Your local Business Journal publication (or find more by Googling your city name followed by “business news”)
- Chamber of commerce/downtown association
- High school sports, music and theater feeds
- Prep sports writers from local papers
- Local sheriff or police department
- Business writer or business section from the local newspaper
- Construction trade sites
- Favorite local shopping centers
- Popular restaurants
Set up a Google Alert, and Google will search the web for content related to key terms you provide and send you a daily digest of where those terms have appeared online.
Simply go to Google.com/alerts, and enter the terms you’d like to follow.
Terms to ask Google to keep you up-to-date on should include:
- Your city name
- Neighborhood name(s)
- Local housing developments
- Your city name plus the word development in quotes (i.e. “Sacramento development”)
- “[Your city name] restaurant opening”
- Specific types of housing you might specialize in, like “Seattle condos”
- Names of major local shopping centers (if it’s a common name you may need to include the city name after it)
You can then tell Google how often to send you an email recap — I recommend once a day.
Feedly is a news aggregator or curation hive that provides an efficient way to follow local blogs or websites.
Go to Feedly.com and sign in using your Google or Facebook account, or create a unique Feedly account. Once logged in, click on the “website” tab and enter the URL of the site you’d like to follow. Then simply click the “follow” button to have it added to your curated list.
Good sources include:
- Your local Patch site (visit patch.com to see if there’s one for your community)
- Your local Eater (visit eater.com to see if your city is covered)
- Local food writers
- City lifestyle magazines
- Small community newspapers
- Business/real estate writers
- City government
- Chamber of commerce/downtown association
Typing your community name into the search box on Feedly will also bring up a variety of different news feeds to consider, or try Googling the name of your city followed by the word “blogs.”
Assuming you live in the community you serve, you should already be on Nextdoor. The private Nextdoor group for your neighborhood offers the ultimate in hyperlocal content, and is a fantastic way to keep up with what people are talking about.
Neighbors complaining about the confusing new bus routes near home, or concerned about the local restaurant that suddenly closed? Find out what’s going on and share it on your Facebook business page.
You can then reply to the question on Nextdoor and refer people to your Facebook page for more information. Just remember that your No. 1 job on Nextdoor is to be a good neighbor.
Simply set Nextdoor up to send you a daily recap of posts by email, and this should be enough to keep up to date.
Keeping on top of it all
Now that you have your content sources set up, all you need to do is create a habit of checking them.
Download the Twitter and Feedly apps to your smartphone and time the emails from Nextdoor and Google Alerts to arrive at a time that’s convenient for you.
I start my day by quickly checking my sources while on the Stairmaster in the mornings, once again during my afternoon commute, and again in front of the TV in the evening. Just find a schedule that works for you, build a habit and stick with it.
Over time people will wonder how you seem to know everything that’s going on in town!