It's probably an understatement to say that Pokémon GO has taken the world by storm. Within the first few days of being released, millions of people downloaded the new app.
This game encourages users to take to the streets to try to find virtual Pokémon, small, illusive creatures that are playing around cities worldwide. The goal is to catch as many as possible using Pokéballs, which you can get at Pokéstops, so you can strengthen your cast of characters and battle it out in Pokémon gyms with other players.
On the surface, it might sound like a child-like game. In the early 1990s, it was.
Today, it's attracted the attention of adults. Groups of grown men will walk with their noses pressed to their phone screens in hopes of seeing Pikachu pop out from behind a trash can in the subway.
With millions of players using it, it's no wonder it has set the social media world on fire with posts, comments and memes.
What can we learn from this success? Let's dig in.
1. Recognize Clever Hashtags
When the game first debuted, Nintendo, the creators of Pokémon GO, could have easily encouraged users to post with #PokemonGO. Although appropriate, other, more creative hashtags have popped up connecting more app users.
One popular hashtag is #GottaCatchEmAll. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) made their own spin on the hashtag to promote not catching or fighting the animals with the hashtag #GottaFreeEmAll.
Another example is #PokemonProblems. Search this hashtag and you'll find a list of posts from people who are having difficulty with part of the game. This isn't customer service type posts (although some of them do complain about the servers being down- a problem that has plagued Pokémon GO because of it's unprecedented success). Many of these posts are about problems players have had catching the Pokémon. For example:
In the marketing world, you should always be listening to your customers. Break away from only looking at #YourBusinessName. Instead, look for other fun, unusual hashtags about your product. Hashtagify.me is a great tool for doing this. It lets you plug in your hashtag and find other related, trending hashtags to follow.
2. Encourage People to Come to Your Business in a Unique Way
Businesses have come together with the community with Pokémon GO. How? By sharing hot tips about where the Pokémon are playing, Pokéstops in the area, or where there are Gyms nearby.
If you have a rare Pokémon pop up around your business, or your business is a Pokéstop or gym, let your followers know. This type of social media marketing is an excellent way of inviting people into your store without being overly promotional (which you probably already know is frowned upon). It's fun and it taps into a popular trend.
But there's another side to the equation here.
It can bring unwelcome guests and people who loiter without buying, stealing away from the atmosphere and hurting your current guests. Here are a few examples:
By taking to social media to lay out the welcome mat or discourage an unpleasant situation for your customers, you'll gain fans.
This isn't exclusive to Pokémon GO either. Once the craze is over (and it will be someday), continue to search for unique ways to attract people to your business. Sales aren't the only thing that will lure people to buy from you. Get creative in your ideas for what to share on social media to get people excited about visiting you.
3. Let the Haters Hate
Amidst all the craze over the new game, there are plenty of people who are vocal about their dislike of Pokémon GO. These people have probably generated more memes than the Pokémon GO players themselves and Nintendo is surely glad about it.
Here are a few:
"Although these memes put a negative spin on the app, they bring attention to the game. The haters out there are actually fanning the Pokémon GO fire by continuing to talk about the game." - Scott Lazerson, Pokémon GO fanatic
This is a fine line to walk as a brand. Negative reviews on social media can be damaging. Funny memes that poke a little fun at what you offer can be beneficial. Recognize the difference for your industry.
Have You Jumped On the Pokémon GO Train Yet?
Whether you've downloaded the app or not, one thing is certain - this game has caught the attention of people from all audiences on social media. It's been hard to open your news feed and avoid seeing something about Pokémon GO.