Social media marketing campaigns that use geolocation have been around for a few years, but surprisingly few brands are taking advantage of this high-tech tool. We’re not sure why. Maybe it sounds too complicated (it’s not), or maybe brand marketers just aren’t sure what geolocation is all about.
Put simply, geolocation campaigns take advantage of the internal GPS installed in just about every smartphone in order to pinpoint the exact location of consumers. Customers who participate by sharing their location can benefit through scoring freebies and discounts, or entry for a larger prize.
The benefit of geolocation campaigns for marketers is that brands get to interact with consumers on a much more personal level, driving them to specific locations (stores, restaurants, etc.) or locations that are relevant to the company or a particular product.
Location-based social networks like Foursquare were the leaders on the geolocation front even before Facebook launched its Facebook Places tool in 2010. All three services allow users to “check in” to various locations (the smartphone’s GPS confirms that the user is indeed at the location) and tell their friends (and brands) where they are at any given time. Other niche smartphone apps, like Untappd, allow beer lovers to check in at various bars, restaurants and locations to share information about which brews they happen to be sipping at that exact moment.
How marketers choose to embrace these “checked in” consumers varies. Some offer prizes and other incentives to first-time visitors and the most frequent visitors, but research has shown that the strongest incentive for geolocation app users isn’t coupons (only 7% of users ranked this as a reason they use the service) or digital badges or passport stamps (just 4% were motivated by these prizes).
By far, the biggest motivation for users of geolocation tools is to “connect with people I know or could meet.” That’s right, 41% of users ranked the social aspect of the social media tool as the number one reason they use it. Go figure!
And so, for marketers hoping to dabble in the geolocation game, coupons and badges can certainly be a part of the campaign, but your effort must also help create richer social connections between consumers. In other words, stronger relationships between consumers equals stronger relationships between consumers and your brand.
MARKETING LESSON: It’s 2012. Do you know where your consumers are? If you’re using geolocation tools in your marketing campaigns, you do.