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Who Else Wants Location Based Social Media?

2010 September 26
Location Based Social Media Is Where We're At

Location Based Social Media Is Where We’re At

Connecting with others regardless of proximity is one of the strongest values Social Media brings to the table.  My blog may be read in earnest around the world and I appreciate that.  LinkedIn has brought business to table with people I’ve not met nor am I likely to meet (e.g., China, India.) Exchanging tweets across the universe is fun and rewarding.  So, what is all of this hoopla about Location Based Social Media?

That being said, I do in fact live here, in this specific place, and not only to I reside here, but I shop here, I eat here and I come face-to-face with hundreds of people every week — right here in Minneapolis, MN USA.  Most businesses I see do not benefit from ecommerce and shopping carts.  Somebody in Afghanistan on the Internet can go to target.com and order a 4-slice toaster; Target will do the currency exchange and ship the toaster to them the next day — everybody wins.  On the other hand, my dentist in Plymouth, MN is not likely to benefit from that Afghani shopper.  My dentist has a service area outside of which he’s not likely to profit.

Location Based Social Media are the darlings of 2010.  New social media platforms, known as Location Based Services, add a contextual layer of movement and proximity to our relationships online and offline.  Location Based Services are smartphone applications utilizing GPS to provide information and social networking relevant to our current location.  Location Based Social Media are our interfaces to these applications.  We are exploring our community online, tracking our friends whereabouts, recent activities, opinions and we shout out to our world where we are and how we want to be found.

What does Location Based Social Media mean to you?  ABI Research estimates, “By 2014 global LBS revenues will have surpassed $14 billion.”  The more detailed information we have on prospect behavior patterns and social context, the better we find something truly valuable to offer them.  We can also provide more specific, directed information based on the location of our best audiences.  Location Based Social Media is particularly valuable for brick and mortar store front business who need to drive local traffic to their store, and for anyone promoting an event at a physical venue.

Basic Types of Location Based Social Media

Kate Shaw categorizes the main types of Location Based Social Media in a blog post “Comprehensive Guide to Location-Based Social Media.”

Social Check-in Sites

Social Check-in sites enable users to access information about businesses in the local area.  At the same time, Social check-in sites encourage users to develop location based relationships with other users, with their other social networks and with local businesses.

Offer incentives to users to check-in and frequent your establishment.  Compelling offers bring new customers to your location and build loyalty with your existing customers.  Encourage users to check-in on any and all Location Based Social Media.  Honor incentives you offer across any Location Based Social Media a user may use.

Listen to your guests! Review sentiment.  Comment on posts.  Acknowledge Testimonials and Referrals.  Most Location Based Social Media have Facebook and Twitter connections that allow your guests to promote your business to their entire social network.

Some Location Based Social Media have search options facilitating keyword and brand term searches.  Look for opportunities to promote special offers to users checking in to a nearby locations.  Some Location Based Social Media have advertising platforms that enables marketers to purchase advertisements based either on category or location.

Social Review Sites

Social Review sites encourage users to publish online reviews, referrals and Testimonials based on their experiences at restaurants, hotels, shops and wherever you and your business are found in Location Based Social Media.  Quality scores can be assigned to each comment based on this user-generated content.

Not all Social Review sites are Location Based Social Media.

Social Review sites are critical for brick-and-mortar business — do not skip your strategy here.  Utilize Social Review sites for the free market research they offer — make the changes your customers ask for as appropriate.

Social Review sites enable businesses to publish local business content.  Many Social Review sites facilitate offering coupons and discount offers to loyal customers.

Make absolutely certain that your guests remember that you exist on Social Review sites.  Ask them for their Testimonial.  Acknowledge customers that take time to post the positive reviews.  Respond to your negative reviews with tact and consummate professionalism.

Local businesses need to listen closely to what their customers say about you, and respond to their suggestions and complaints.

There is no more effective marketing than Testimonials.  Every review, every referral, every comment is a Testimonial to the quality of your business.  The more positive Testimonials you accumulate, the greater your authority and credibility in your community.

In real life you cannot please everybody.  Everybody cannot be your best customer.  Some customers cannot be satisfied.  The minority negative review is real life.  Occasional dissatisfaction is more believable than saccharin drivel, and builds your online personality.

Social Scheduling Sites

Social Scheduling sites facilitate sharing your “social calendar” with your social networks.  Individuals can find out about upcoming events.  Networks of people can plan anything from birthday parties to movie dates.

Rather than publishing to the world where you are at at this moment, Social Scheduling sites facilitate sharing where you will be.  Like a public calendar, you publish where you’re going, which events you will attend and with whom you are going.

Social Scheduling sites often include comment and review functionality.  Other users comment, share information, and they can publish their own intent with a “count-me-in” button.

Social Scheduling sites can facilitate keyword searching, so customers and Location Based Social Media can find out about your events.  Any marketing involving conferences, meetups, parties, or other get-togethers will benefit.

Conclusions About Location Based Social Media

Carefully examine the list of Location Based Social Media.  Explore the pros and cons.  Determine which platforms will best help you communicate with your customers.  Marketing Local Business Online demands that you go where your customers are.  Be found everywhere they are looking for you.

Listen carefully and learn from your guests.  Self-reporting your location has a value in itself.  Declaring your current location is more than just a piece of information — your intention is behind it.  Suppose you’re in a bar and the name of the place is broadcast to your colleagues.  That’s both a statement about where you are and an invitation to others.  They can infer about your availability or your willingness to interact socially.

Engage with your guests — communicate — bring something of value to the conversation.

Remember that Location Based Social Media is very new.  You are marketing to early adopters with voyeuristic tendencies and enormous digital mouths.

Be genuine.  Engage your guests with open arms, a big smile and kind words.  Offer them the right incentives at the right time.  Your Location Based Social Media community will become your most loyal customers and loudest evangelists.  Location Based Social Media is where we’re at.

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