In 2009, a promising startup introduced a concept that let users share the geographical location of their mobile devices. The concept of location-based user engagement soon caught fire, and the company, Foursquare, soon rode at the helm of a marketing wave known as location based marketing.
The concept of location based marketing is simple. Businesses provided people with a reason to physically "check in" to their premises, and offered incentives for them to do so. The idea caught on and now it remains a powerful tool in online business toolkits.
Today there are a number of platforms that combine social media with location-based marketing, including Foursquare, Gowalla, Facebook, Loopt, Yelp, BrightKite and many others.
Regardless of which platform you choose, the following step-by-step overview shows how to create a marketing campaign anchored on location.
- Create your online venue. You can select one or more platforms on which to build your online presence for location-based marketing. Each platform you select will ask you to register and create an account. Then you will need to "claim" your online venue so that you have exclusive ownership of it and its name. The specifics for signing up varies with each provider; you need to make sure you follow each site's instructions for registration and use.
- Configure and customize your location marketing page(s). For each account you open you will need to edit the corresponding profile page. While it is not technically required that you do this, and your campaign will still be able to run without you having to change the information in your profiles, it is not advisable that you move forward without personalizing your profile information. Prospects and visitors will often take a peek at who lies behind the account. It will pay off in the long run if you take the trouble and effort to make sure such visitors like what they see. Also, many social media platform profiles are searched by Google and other search engines, and the information is indexed in its databases so that people can more easily find you.
- Integrate your customer relationship management (CRM) system. Explore ways you can seamlessly share data between your CRM and the location based marketing systems you use. This lets you capture both the interactions logged into the CRM and the social networking activities users engage in.
- Set up a plan to measure your campaign's performance. Right from the beginning, identify the business goals you want to achieve, then map out the corresponding metrics that you will need to measure.
- Optimize your marketing plan. Based on the figures you obtained from the previous stage, you can now make decisions on how to change specific components of your marketing plan to arrive at better results.
- Review and adjust your budget. Make the adjustments necessary to make sure you can sustain the campaign.
- Define roles and responsibilities.
- Create a relevant offer for participants. Location based marketing is built around providing users with incentives for checking in. You should identify your target market segments, then create appropriate rewards. You should think about tiered reward systems, and mechanisms that delight users by allowing them to uncover better offers and special rewards.
Creating a social media marketing campaign that actually produces results isn't always easy, but there's plenty of help out there if you need it.