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This California Practice Focuses Its Online Marketing on Its Own Backyard … And You Can Too

Hyperlocal social networks keep you connected to the customers that really matter — your neighbors.




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THESE DAYS, SOCIAL networks’ promises of global community ring hollow for many. Looking to tap this disillusion, a number of hyperlocal networks like Nextdoor and Venn have emerged that would seem a good fit for small businesses, especially now that, after two years of pandemic conditions, many consumers crave community while having become acquainted with e-commerce. Brand expert Larry Light recently told Forbes that neighborhoods meet our social needs without “the effort of rational planning… Brands that can deliver on neighborhood have a relevant differentiator.” Optician David Greening, who oversees the Nextdoor account at Astorino & Associates Eye Center (AAEC) in Newport Beach, CA, shares the benefits of going hyperlocal.


When some patients told him about Nextdoor, Greening’s first thought was it sounded like a useful way of communicating with neighbors “about coyote and helicopter sightings.” But when he saw that AAEC could make a business account and tie it to suggestions they had on their site, he signed the practice up. Doing so is free, but unlike Facebook, there is a process for verifying your address. Once this is done you’re placed in a neighborhood, with your feed showing only posts from locals. Businesses are allowed a set number of free posts per month and are charged a fee for using the Local Deals service (it averages about $75 but depends on duration and scope of audience), allowing you to promote discounts to locals. To Greening, this promised to be a great way to supercharge word-of-mouth marketing, which he says “has never been more essential. We polled, and over 90% of people said they trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.”

This California Practice Focuses Its Online Marketing on Its Own Backyard … And You Can Too


Greening quickly found Nextdoor to be a handy way to garner leads. “If I see a neighbor asking for a good eye doctor, optician, etc., then I recommend our practice.” He also uses it for sales, as it’s inexpensive to post offers to nearby zip codes. In one, AECC offers 30% off complete glasses for customers who find them on Nextdoor. “It’s really easy to show off a holiday-themed offering, service, or gift idea that just might be on neighbors’ lists,” he says.


​Nextdoor is the only platform Greening uses to advertise eyewear. “[On other platforms] quite often your audience is not in the same area as you. It’s hard to promote an eye business on Facebook without paying for targeted ads. It gets very expensive.” This year ahead of the holidays he also plans to choose a service or item and advertise that its sales will go to a local non-profit or organization.


Greening sees inherent advantages in hyperlocal platforms. “I get to share tips and advice to make sure neighbors know I’m the go-to local expert. I get to connect with Newport Beach and Costa Mesa residents. I … have peace of mind that I am reaching real people who can actually make a trip to come see our practice.” He describes the customer response as “definitely positive”, adding that sometimes patients will just show up and say “I saw you listed on Nextdoor.”

Greening estimates that during periods when he is able to give it his full attention he gets maybe an extra 10 sales a month. “It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s a good return.”

Do It Yourself: Go Hyperlocal

  • LEVERAGE. Nextdoor offers three free posts a month. “You can write whatever you like, and you will get a guaranteed reach,” says Greening.
  • INVEST. The ‘Local Deals’ paid function allows you to reward your community with a special offer for coming in or even for recommending you to a friend.
  • PARTNER. Find other local businesses on Nextdoor with whom you have synergies. “This is great if you find optometrists who do not have an optical store!”
  • BE PERSONABLE. “And absolutely do not get caught up in political posts unless you want to polarize your audience,” says Greening.
  • LOOK AROUND. Other than Nextdoor, options such as Venn or Facebook Neighborhoods may also work for you.

After years covering some of the farther flung corners of the world of business journalism, Heath has more recently focused on covering the efforts of independent eyecare professionals to negotiate a fast-changing industry landscape. Contact him at


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