Google adds local, mobile reach with Zagat

The big social media news on Thursday this week was that Google is gobbling up Zagat, the successful guidebook publisher, to further reinforce the search engine’s services for local businesses.

In Dealbook, The New York Times reports that Google spent between $100 million to $200 million to buy Zagat, which has faced increasing competition from online upstart Yelp. Others place the sale price considerably lower. Online advertising is an increasingly lucrative market, one that analysts estimate to be about $140 billion a year, the NYT reported.  Google intends to keep publishing the print guidebooks, but is undecided about how it will integrate Zagat’s website into Google Places.

Who’s the fairest Facebook fan of all?

Small businesses running Facebook pages  who want to understand who their most valuable fans are might find help with Booshaka. Booshaka plans to compete with Klout as a platform measuring social media influence but specifically among Facebook fans. Booshaka claims it is analyzing larger amounts of data — 125 million Facebook users versus Klout’s 100 million. To date, Booshaka offers a free leaderboard for Facebook; a social rewards and analytics dashboard; and a tool for advanced insights.

Ease the Main St. squeeze with online marketing

Mashable guest blogger Jeff Stibel,  CEO of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp for small business, offers five points of  advice for Main St. businesses feeling squeezed  during these uncertain times.

  1. Request Better Payment Terms
  2. Social Networking
  3. Improve Customer Service
  4. Use Online Directories
  5. Separate Your Personal from Your Business Credit

Our favorites? No surprise – 2, 3 and 4  have to do with your online marketing.

Social networking is extremely cost effective. You can engage your audience directly and inexpensively with Facebook and Twitter. Improving sustomer service goes hand in glove with effective use of social networks and it is less costly to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones. Using Online Directories – such as Google Places —  is often free and inexpensive and connects you with your customers.