Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Brightkite, Facebook Places. These sound like games, don’t they? In a way, they are. They are the biggest players in the game of location-based social media. Location-based social networking provides a platform where your clients can “check in” at your place of business. It’s a fun and unique way to engage your clients, since you can get your clients to promote your business in return for bragging rights.
I primarily use Yelp and Foursquare when I “check in” on my iPhone. In fact, I’m the “mayor” of a number of businesses here in Orange, and every time I check in at Chili’s, I get a free order of chips and salsa. The Foursquare app uses the GPS chip in your phone to locate you, and then lists the businesses nearby. You simply find the appropriate business, check in, and share with your Twitter and Facebook friends. You can check into restaurants, retail locations, hiking trails, state parks, and for me, I can check into the Texas/Louisiana border (less than 5 minutes from my house).
Like most of the other social networking applications, these location-based applications are free to set up and use. Even if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar location and work out of your home like I do, I think it’s still worthwhile to get into the location-based social networking game.
Here are 6 tips you can use to market your business on these location-based sites:
1. Claim your profile. In most cases, if you have a business telephone number and/or a physical location, your profile will already be listed in these services. If you don’t find your business there, all of these services offer you the option of creating a profile for your business. For my physical address, I use my local mailbox service as my physical address.
2. Offer specials. The incentive to get others to check into your business is to offer them special deals. Depending on your type of business, you might offer a free appetizer or drink special if you’re a restaurant, or offer a discount coupon after a certain number of check-ins if you’re a retail or service business. In Foursquare, you can also offer a special to the “mayor” of your business, which is the person who has checked in the greatest number of times. Customers will compete against each other to unseat the current mayor.
3. Give tips. Use your profile to give your customers tips about how they can best use your business. Post daily/monthly specials in your profile, or how to best use your business as well as education about what you provide. For example, if you run a travel agency, leave tips about the best attractions in your city to recommend to visitors.
4. Interact with your customers. Location-based social media platforms offer statistics to the business owner so that she can how customers interact in her business. By reading reviews and tips left by customers, it gives the business owner a better understanding of customer needs. You might even host in person live events or Meetups for those who check into your business.
5. Make it easy for customers to check in. Offer a promotion to encourage customers and friends of customers to follow your account, like a promo code or limited-time offer. If you’re a virtual business, put check in reminders on your site, your blog and in your email newsletter.
6. Check into your business each day. If you have a physical location, this makes more sense, but it pays to check into your virtual business each day as well, since it’s free advertising. And, who wants to pass up free advertising?
Take Action Strategy
Geographically-based social networking is here to stay, so it’s worth the time for you to take advantage of this free promotional strategy for your business. By leveraging the networks of your clients, you may soon discover a greatly expanded customer base.
Mobile Marketing Consultation
2011 will be the year when we’ll begin to feel the impact of mobile marketing. Will you be ready? When people leave their homes each day, they usually carry three things: their keys, their wallet (or purse), and their mobile phone. If you’re not ready for the mobile marketing revolution, your business may be left in the dust.
Do you need a mobile web site? If so, what do you want it to do? If you don’t know that much about mobile marketing, all the options out there may confuse you.
Figure out what’s most important to your business with a complimentary 1:1 Mobile Marketing Consultation. Set yours up with Donna here: https://my.timedriver.com/5XGGH
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Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.