Location-based marketing is arguably the next big thing in social media. Have you checked into a place of business using Foursquare, Facebook Places, SCVNGR, Gowalla or Loopt? If not, you could potentially be missing out on customer loyalty rewards, discounts or a fun points accumulation game among your friends.
What started as a silly game to keep track of the places your friends frequent around town has quickly turned into a multi-billion dollar industry. According to Pyramid Research, it’s expected that in 2015, global location-based marketing services will be worth $6.2 billion, which is about 35% of total mobile advertising revenue.
All you mom-and-pop shops take note of what the big boys have already discovered: taking advantage of these free services can add value and top-of-mind brand awareness for your customers whenever they step foot in or around your establishment. To turn awareness into longer-term relationships, however, these mobile apps need to be incentivized. Find out who’s visiting and what they’re interested in, then use that input to design offers and events that might bring them back. Include these new customers in your other marketing efforts and invite them to sign up for your email newsletter or join your Facebook page.
There’s a certain excitement when social media takes to the streets. People aren’t simply blogging away while holed up in their bedroom anymore. GPS-enabled smart phones have allowed anyone to become a mobile marketer. While location-based social media adds another dimension to pure social networking, business owners should keep in mind that giving back via points, specials, deals and upgrade services can help their businesses exponentially in the long run, especially if coupled with some good old-fashioned positive word-of-mouth from happy, satisfied customers.