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Management

Take a Peek at Our New Features and Boost Your Community Visibility

February 12, 2017 • 6 min read
Ro Prakash

Ro Prakash

Co-founder

In most any business, good relationships—with customers and suppliers, for example—are essential to success. Good relationships within your local business community are equally as important as those with customers and suppliers.

Small business owners who have access to other local business owners know first-hand how valuable these connections can be. To reap the benefits of those connections, it’s important to be a visible member of your community both on- and offline, so that you come to mind when they need an expert or to make a recommendation. Being part of that community also means that you’re part of a group whose members share the wisdom of their (local!) experience, so you’re not reinventing the wheel as you build your business.

There are days, however, when the best business advice in the world isn’t what you need. Sometimes, what’s most important are the words of support that your fellow business owners can offer when you need them. Starting and running a business is hard work and it can be isolating, but with a community like Townsquared that shares your experiences, it doesn’t need to be.

Across your city and in your Townsquared neighborhood are small business owners who have experience with everything from general topics, like hiring and online marketing, to more industry-specific concerns, like finding mannequins on short notice or a new supplier for takeaway food containers. There are folks who can help you figure out how to incorporate your business or find the right freelancers.

With the collective wisdom of a community of small business owners, there’s no telling how much you can achieve!

At Townsquared, our product designers and engineers are working hard to continually improve the platform—making it easier to use and adding features that really help our members. Many of the features we work on originate through member feedback.

Here’s a roundup of the new crop of features designed to help you make the most of your local connections and increase your visibility.

Profiles

We’re really excited about the new profile design. The new profile allows members to more effectively represent their brand by adding photos and highlighting their websites and social media channels. You’re also able to add certifications and any organizations to which you belong.

On your new profile page, members can quickly get a sense of your experience and what your business does, as the profile foregrounds your qualifications and exactly what services or products you sell. This feature also supports multiple locations and businesses!

Navigation and Search

The best information in the world isn’t any good if you can’t find it—so we’re always working to make finding what you need faster and easier. We’ve not only streamlined how you navigate around the site but also added the ability to search for topics, industries, businesses, and members!

Navigation

The new “For You” tab in the navigation displays all the posts you want to see, including those from your groups, neighborhood contacts, and city-wide discussions. Switch to your neighborhood-only content by selecting the neighborhood tab, or pick a topic of interest from the most popular ones listed. “Groups” work the same way—click on the tab and choose the one you want. The mobile navigation, of course, is a bit different. All topics except Groups are listed under “For You.” To access those, click on the person icon on the lower right of your screen.

Don’t miss out on the most interesting and popular questions currently being asked in your city! Check out the new “Top Questions” feature for desktop, located to the right of your feed.

Search

One of my favorite updates has to be the new search feature.

With more than 20,000 conversations on Townsquared at last count, there’s a lot of information available to help you make the best decisions for your business. Now you can quickly find posts and conversations by searching for topics, people, or businesses. Whether you’re looking for advice on increasing sales, converting social media followers into customers, negotiating with a landlord, or hiring the best talent, it’s all just a click away.

Profiles and Search in particular make it easier for other members to find you and your business, making it more likely they’ll reach out to you.

Groups

Another way to connect on Townsquared is the new group feature. You can create an affinity group or communicate within a larger business group that has a presence on Townsquared by creating a group channel. One of the first groups on the platform is an affinity group, Women in Business, which includes the National Association of Women Business Owners and other local women’s business groups. We have several businesses signing up to use the group channel to communicate in-house, and more loosely-structured organizations like the Oakland-based maker group, Oakland Grown, are also using the feature to facilitate communication among their members.

Groups can be public, meaning anyone can join, or private, meaning a group administrator has to approve new group members. We provide support for both types of groups.

Groups offer organizations increased visibility, either as a public group, which will turn up in relevant searches (by geography, content, or demographics), or among their own membership, in a private group. Group administrators can seamlessly share content with their community, as well as with the Townsquared community at large. Administrators can even pin posts in their Group feed to highlight important information. It also facilitates communication among individual group members or sub-groups, rather than an email blast to all and sundry.

Organizations can take advantage of groups to promote events to their own community, as well as other relevant communities on Townsquared. The feature provides administrators with a clean directory of group members. An organization’s members can post a badge on their profile that identifies them as belonging to that group, further increasing visibility.

You can see what groups are already on Townsquared on the Discover Groups page.

Don’t forget, members can always use the new and improved iOS and Android apps, making Townsquared even more accessible!


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