Counting Down to the 2017 Movies in the Park Series in Grand Rapids this Summer!

It’s almost that time of year again!  June 2 is the start of a summer favorite event here in Grand Rapids…the 2017 Movies in the Park. This event is held annually at Ah-Nab-Awan Park downtown. The summer schedule has finally been released!

There are some fantastic flicks coming this year including some classics like The Bodyguard, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jaws. Check out the full schedule below and visit the Downtown GR website for full details and information.

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Photo: Facebook

The summer schedule has finally been released.  Some great flicks coming this year including some classics like The Bodyguard, Mrs. Doubtfire and Jaws. Check out the full schedule below and visit the Downtown GR website for full details and information.

Click HERE for Ah-Nab-Awan-Park Info.


June 2nd

ZOOTOPIA (PG) — 7:00 pm

STAR TREK (PG-13) — 9:30 pm


June 16th

Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (G) — 7:00 pm

Pan’s Labyrinth (R) — 9:30pm

 


July 7th

Mrs. Doubtfire (PG-13) — 7:00 pm

Forrest Gump (PG-13) — 9:30 pm

 


July 21st

The Book of Life (PG)

Jaws (PG)

 


August 4th

Selena (PG)

The Bodyguard (R)

 


August 18th

Remember the Titans (PG)

Pitch Perfect (PG-13)

 


See you at the movies!

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Ten of the Coziest Bookstores in the United States

We love small Indie and Independent bookstores. If you’ve seen the film You’ve Got Mail, you will know exactly what we’re talking about!  The cozy atmosphere is welcoming and almost magical for booklovers.   There is something amazing about holding a book (instead of an e-reader).   Whether it’s a newly arrived book, or one that has been on shelves for years, there is just something about the smell of a book and its’ pages.

We recently dove into our directory and searched the coziest bookstores we have listings for.  Here, in no particular order, are ten of our favorite small bookshops across the United States!

Wild Rumpus Books – Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Left Bank Books – Located in St. Louis, Missouri

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City Lights Bookstore – Located in Sylva, North Carolina

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The King’s English Bookshop – Located in Salt Lake City, Utah

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Maple Street Book hop – Located in New Orleans, Louisiana

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South Congress Books – Located in Austin, Texas

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Baldwin’s Book Barn – Located in West Chester, Pennsylvania

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The Mysterious Bookshop – New York City, New York

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Myopic Bookstore – Chicago, Illinois

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Capitol Hill Books – Washington, D.C.

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We think we have a pretty good list, but we know there are many more! Do you have one where you live? Make sure to let us know in the comments! We would love to add them to our list!

To check out more of our listings, visit us at www.Zappenin.com.

Zappenin’s App Available for iOS

We’re excited to announce that our iOS mobile app for iPhones, iPads, etc. is now live on the App store.

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You can use it anytime to quickly find local businesses around you from the convenience of your mobile device.  It takes just a couple of taps to find the best restaurants, hotels, florists, hair salons, plumbers and more… both around you and in any city in the U.S.  As always, the ZapScore of each business is displayed to help you sort through the options.

A couple of comments:

  • We are releasing new features to the app, so be sure to update it regularly.
  • Don’t fret.  Zappenin’s app for Android is coming soon as well!

 

62% of Consumers Prefer Reviews from People They Know

Recent poll shows consumers prefer a single review from someone they know personally over large numbers of reviews from strangers.

In a February 2017 poll* conducted by Zappenin, the majority of consumers (62%) stated that when seeking a new product or service provider they value a single review from someone they know personally over lots of reviews from people they don’t know.

Here was the poll question:

When choosing a business (e.g., a restaurant, plumber, hair stylist), what type of review do you value most?

A.) A single review from someone I know personally
B.) Lots of reviews from people I don’t know

The results were clear.  The majority of consumers prefer even a single recommendation from someone they know personally over sifting through many reviews from strangers.  In other words, social proof (or “social validation“) from peers, friends and relatives carries a lot of weight in choosing a business and making a buying decision.

Survey Results

Clearly consumers value sites like Yelp & TripAdvisor… and even Google & Facebook… all known for amassing lots of reviews for millions of businesses & destinations.  However, the reality is that many consumers would prefer just one “word-of-mouth” review from someone they know.

The challenge is that word-of-mouth reviews are notoriously difficult to collect and make available exactly when consumers need them.  Consumers must cobble together these highly-valued recommendations from friends & relatives on their own.  Facebook and Google groups have made it easier in some situations, but it still far from mainstream behavior.

Zappenin plans to change this.

 

* Survey was conducted on both Facebook & Pollshare.  659 total respondents.

 

Facebook Removes Page Invite Option From Post Likes

Over the last few days, Facebook has removed the ability of Page admins to “invite” Facebook users to like their page, after those people first like a post from that Page.  Instead, admins now have the option to “Add Friend”.

If you are a Facebook advertiser, this is a pretty big deal.  Many Facebook Page admins and marketers write posts and then “boost’ them (pay money to Facebook to display the posts to targeted audiences beyond those who like their page).  When Facebook users like these posts, it doesn’t mean they necessarily like the corresponding Page… so a long term relationship with the user has not yet been struck.  The secondary benefit was that the Page admins could follow up with those users and send an invitation to like the Page.  This is how many marketers justified the cost of boosting a post– that they would also pick up these follow-up Page like as well.

At least for now, that is no longer the case.

In a peculiar move, Facebook has instead replaced the “Invite” option with “Add Friend”.  How many admins of a Page want to invite strangers who like a Page post into their network of friends?  Umm… none?  Exactly.  It is hard to understand what the thought process was in making the change.

There is always the chance that this was simply a bug Facebook accidentally introduced, and it will be fixed in short order.  Meanwhile, Facebook advertisers are forming Facebook groups and expressing their dismay on Twitter (#bringbackinvites) in hopes of reversing this policy.

UPDATE:  Facebook has mysteriously brought back the Invite option.  Crazy.

How To Claim Your Business Listing

One of the best ways to ensure your business receives maximum visibility on Zappenin is by “claiming” your business listing.  By claiming, you can add to & edit the information displayed about your business.  Best of all, it is totally free.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Create an account on Zappenin.  Simply complete and submit this very short form.  Then be sure to check your email for a link to confirm your email address is valid.
  2. Once your account is set up, either claim an existing listing (if your business is already listed on Zappenin) or add a new listing if it is not.

To claim an existing listing:

  • To see if your business is already listed, simply use the search box at the top of the page to see if you can find it.  If you do find it, look for the “claim” link on the page:
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  • Upon clicking, complete the simple form to request to claim the listing.  Any information you provide to confirm you are authorized to represent this business is helpful.  (We don’t want people “hijacking” business listings that are not their own.)
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  • After we receive and approve your request, your listing will appear in your My Account section where you can add to & edit it.
 To add a new listing:
  • If your business is not listed on Zappenin, then go to the “Add A Business” link located in the top menu bar.
  • There you will be able to categorize, add important information about and submit your business.

Some Tips

When either claiming or adding a listing, here are a few important tips to make sure you listing looks and ranks well for potential customers:

  1. Be sure your business name, address, phone and (if available) website are accurate.  These are the staples of a great listing.
  2. Add a logo or other image.  Your logo not only makes your listing look great for customers, but it is also used to display your listing in the search and browse.  Listings with logos look far more appealing.
  3. Add both a short and long description.  Use these to tell potential customers what products & services you provide and why they should choose you over competitors.  Short descriptions are used in Zappenin’s search, browse and other locations around the website.  The long description is displayed on your business’s listing page.  Both are very important.  Note: pay close attention to spelling and grammar when writing your descriptions.  These types of errors lower your credibility with customers.
  4. Add your social network accounts and pages.  This, above all things, is most critical on Zappenin.  Our algorithms use your social network activity to calculate a ZapScore.  Simply put:  if we don’t know about your Facebook page, Pinterest account, Instagram account, etc., then you will not rank as well when potential customers look for you on Zappenin.  So make sure you tell us!
  5. Lastly, don’t be afraid to start.  Some business owners feel they need to block off an extended period of time to fully complete their listing.  Wrong!  You can edit & update your listing any time you want via your My Account page.  Meanwhile, potential customers are using Zappenin 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  So the worst choice is doing nothing at all.  Even if it’s not perfect, you can always change it later.

 

Facebook Launches New Feature to Connect Consumers with Service Providers

In mid-December, Facebook quietly launched a new feature that helps people find top-rated local service providers in a local search & directory format.  According to the site, it recommends those with “the best Facebook reviews and ratings.”  Clearly, this is a foray by Facebook into the space currently occupied by Yelp, Angie’s List, Google+ and other review-oriented consumer sites.

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This will be an interesting test for Facebook.  Facebook Pages are used extensively by businesses large & small to stay connected to existing customers, provide updates & announcements and, in general, keep their brand top-of-mind.  Active & popular businesses can collect thousands of followers (“Page likes”) as well as reviews & ratings.  Where Facebook Pages struggle is in helping businesses find new customers.  All of the Page activity typically does not help a business get in front of consumers who need their product or service, but do not actually know their business.

Facebook certainly has both the raw number of consumers (i.e., nearly everyone) on its platform and the participation of businesses through Facebook Pages to be a formidable player in this space.  The big question is whether they can bend consumer behavior to start at Facebook when looking for a service provider.  Consumers know Google, Yelp, Angie’s List, etc. as places to go to find service providers and read reviews.  Facebook is not currently on that list.  It’s a monumental task to drive that kind of shift in behavior.  When a consumer needs an electrician or a plumber, will they turn to Facebook first instead of, say, searching on Google?

There are similarities to Google Plus, Google’s failed effort to compete with Facebook as a social network.  At the time of its inception, Google had more people regularly using its products & services (search, Gmail, etc.)  But getting those same people to adopt Google Plus as a social network proved to be a monumental challenge.

It’s also interesting which business categories Facebook chose to highlight… or better stated, the ones they omitted.  Restaurants, the bread-and-butter of Yelp, are noticeably absent (though you can search restaurants if you choose).  It seems likely that Facebook that rather than taking on Yelp in their wheelhouse… and possibly paling in comparison, they are nipping around the categoies at the edges while they refine & learn.

All this said, it will be interesting to see whether ratings & reviews are the main driver behind how Facebook surfaces its recommended businesses.  Consumer reviews are certainly one way of helping consumers find the best businesses.  Here at Zappenin, we believe it is the entire scope of businesses’ authentic social activity that when summarized, help consumers best select a business for their product or service need.  Facebook reviews are one important signal, but there are other social signals, and other social networks, to consider as well.

However it turns out for Facebook, it is validating to see that attempts are being made to tap into social activity to help consumers find businesses.  Businesses are being encouraged to leverage social media more & more.  This activity, when done well, should reward businesses with more new customers.  This is certainly our mission here at Zappenin.

Recently Updated Listings – Granville, Newark & Heath, Ohio

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Below is a list of businesses that have been recently added or updated on Zappenin from the Granville, Newark & Heath, Ohio area.  If you know these businesses, please visit the listing and leave a review.

If you own a business not on this list, or not in the Zappenin Social Yellow Pages at all, please suggest it here for inclusion.

Linking To Your Zappenin Business Listing

It is free to list your business on Zappenin.  To suggest a business for inclusion in our Social Yellow Pages directory, click here.  Not all businesses that are suggested are actually included, though.  Zappenin looks for evidence of social activity (participation on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as a requirement for being included.

If your business is included, we humbly ask that you consider linking to your Zappenin business listing from your website and/or other online locations.  Links help Zappenin to grow overall & that attracts more new customers for your business.

To assist, here are a couple of simple ways to do this:

1.  Copy and embed the following HTML code to a webpage, or webpages, of your site.  If you need assistance, consult with your webmaster.  Note: the two sections surrounded by asterisks (***) need to be modified for your business listing.

Here is an example of what this looks like on your web page:

Zappenin, the Social Yellow Pages
See more about The James Store on Zappenin, the Social Yellow Pages

2.  Alternatively, you can simply include the Zappenin logo on your site with this code:

LINK TO THE ZAPPENIN HOMEPAGE

LINK TO YOUR BUSINESS LISTING ON ZAPPENIN

Whichever way you choose to link to Zappenin, we appreciate it!

Facebook & Twitter in the Home Services Category

One of the cool things about being a socially-focused yellow page site is that we get to analyze the social data of the businesses on Zappenin.

In this quick analysis, we looked at the usage of Facebook pages & Twitter accounts across several popular Home Services categories.  Namely, we looked at 13,385 businesses across the U.S. in these seven Home Services categories:

The results are interesting:

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Surprisingly, within each category, the percentage of businesses with a Facebook page was almost exactly the same as those with a Twitter account.  However two categories, Furnace Repair & Plumbing, had a far larger % of socially-active businesses than the remaining five.  The lowest socially active category was Electricians.

Below you can see the percentage adoption across all 7 social networks we currently monitor on Zappenin.

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After Facebook & Twitter, Pinterest was the next most heavily used network followed closely by Google+.