Four Location-Based Marketing Tools

Location-based social media tools

Thinking Locally

 With the rising dependency on mobile devices, and their GPS and WiFi technology that can determine where a user is located, businesses are realizing the need to think locally. In this article I'll give a brief overview of four popular location-based social media tools and explain some of their major differences as well as reasons they may be important for your business.

1. Foursquare

Foursquare was created in 2009 and became the first location-based social network to be widely adopted. In May 2012, Foursquare had 15 million users, 4 million check-ins each day and 3 million sites listed. Foursquare tells your friends that you are in a specific place based on where you "check in." Each place a user visits can be commented on with personal notes that are visible to that visitor and his friends. Foursquare's success is based on its superior geolocation technology, its utility, and its ranking games and badges. If you check-in to a place often, Foursquare gives you a ranking and badge among your friends. This badge can be taken over by friends if they begin to frequent a location more than you.

Large and small businesses use Foursquare to offer customer loyalty discounts, coupons, and incentives for visiting their locations, adding tips and creating recommendations. Foursquare is currently seen as the biggest innovator in location-based social media. Its format and interface are used as a model for similar services like Facebook Checkin. 

2. Facebook Checkin

Facebook Checkin works a lot like Foursquare and even has the ability for a business to add check-in incentives. It lacks the popular gaming and ranking aspects of Foursquare but makes up for it with its size advantage. Facebook is by far the largest social network and therefore gives businesses a longer marketing reach. When people check-in at a location, it is posted on their Facebook Timeline and also notifies their Facebook friends, who in turn could share that information with their friends, widening your audience.

3. Yelp

Yelp is an online city guide that helps people find local places to eat, shop, drink, relax and more. Yelp employs user reviews to "rank" venues and uses geolocation technology to help people find where you are. Yelp, like Foursquare, has a check-in ranking system and adds more weight to reviews from people of a higher rank. It also gives businesses the ability to add discounts and incentives. If you are a business with a venue, you may already be on Yelp and have unsolicited reviews. These could be positive or negative, so you should claim your location and monitor your reviews, giving you more control over how people are interacting with your business.

4. GetGlue

All these location-based networks are great but what if your physical location isn't important because you have a virtual commodity? That's were GetGlue comes in. GetGlue allows users to check-in to books, songs, videos and other "virtual locations" as well as post reviews and receive recommendations. GetGlue also uses Foursquare to add physical locations. If you watch a movie at a theater you can check into the movie with GetGlue and recommend it to friends, while also checking into the location of the movie theater. Like other location-based services, GetGlue allows businesses to reward fans with specials and rankings.

All of the above mentioned services offer analytics tools and alerts that help you monitor your accounts. It is important to have an understanding of how your customers are using these location-based services so your business can meet customers where they are, provide them with incentives for loyalty, and know what they are saying about you.

Continue the discussion at our next coffee hour:
Location-Based Marketing with Social Media
September 11, 2012 | 8:30 - 10:00am | Stevens 470 | register today >
Join us at our next coffee hour, where we will take our location-based technology discussion even further, reviewing examples of how businesses are using these technologies and ways that you can incorporate them into your overall marketing strategy.

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