With the report from ABI Research that 1.7 billion smartphones will be in circulation by 2016, location-based applications for social networking sites are set to rocket. What does this mean for your social media plan? Location-based social networking offers an opportunity to advertise and promote your business.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Location-based applications allow users to add their location to their tweets, messages or photos due to "location aware" software. Users can send photos with exact coordinates of where they are, or "check-in" to a business or location which sends alerts to their network of contacts. Mashups allow for your location to be viewable on map applications such as google maps.
The opportunity starts with making sure that your business is listed in your geolocation area. Facebook Places allows you to claim your business location free of charge. You can manage your place’s address, contact information, business hours, profile picture, admins and other settings. Users can now "check in" to your location, transmitting this message to their network - 'John has checked in at Benetton, La Muette".
WHY WOULD THEY BOTHER?
This is where your markeing nouce comes in! Give them a reason to come to your branch and to check-in! For example, "1/2 price jeans at Benetton this afternoon only" - this is the type of incentive that will give users credibility with their network and they will be more than happy to share their location details with their social network peers. For the business it is a great way of building a rapport with customers. You can organise special deals and save these to your location. The beauty with this form of marketing is the viral nature of the message. Your network becomes stronger as you reach other users who will bring their networks along to yours.
Be visible, searchable and make your location known!