Online business directories are cashing in on the popularity of social media tools to reach potential customers.
Superpages.com recently launched the @sp411 channel on Twitter. This feature allows users to receive business addresses and phone numbers via Tweets. You can also obtain weather reports, movie listings, directions and WiFi hotspot locations.
All you have to do is start following @sp411, and then wait for Superpages to start following you. I tried it out yesterday and it took less than two minutes to follow, get followed, submit a request for, and receive, my local weather forecast.
You don’t have to worry about everyone on Twitter seeing the results of your request either. Movies and directions are only available through direct message requests. And People search results will be sent back via direct messages for privacy reasons.
Yellowpages.com is also preparing a new local social-search tool to reach the under-30 crowd. A user’s social connections and recommendations will apparently play a big role in determining the search results.
These moves make perfect sense since more and more local businesses have discovered that social media is a cheap marketing tool. MarketingVox recently reported on an October 2009 study by BIA/Kelsey that found 32% of small and mid-size businesses plan to include social media in their marketing strategies during the next year by using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.