Quick thoughts on using location services for marketing

A printed circuit board inside a mobile phone
Image via Wikipedia

As people continue to use mobile devices for computing, more and more apps are getting into the location-aware game. Services like Twitter and Pegshot and new social location games like Foursquare and Gowalla are making use of location combined with commentary, photography, and personal status. Oh yeah, and Facebook now has a check-in API.

Passive and Active, Quick or Time-consuming

A business can take advantage of these developments either passively by making sure they have a complete and accurate profile on the services. A business could use the serviceĀ  actively by going out and using the systems or incorporating promotions based around them.

Example of using location services for marketing

For example, Foursquare is service that people use to “check in” to a location and let their friends know where they are. Every location that someone can “check in” to has a profile on Foursquare itself.

A passive approach to location marketing

A passive approach to using Foursquare to market would include logging in to Foursquare and editing your business profile to include correct street address, phone number and also “tags” that are keywords describing what people might find or do at your location. Users can also leave “tips” of things to try at your establishment or to avoid. Make sure all of these things are complete and accurate and you’ve done due diligence on passive participation on Foursquare.

An active approach to location marketing

If you want to be more actively involved, you can establish either official Foursquare promotions (which alert people who are nearby that there’s a special at your establishment) or unofficial Foursquare promotions (put up a sign that says people who “check in” get something). The theory here is that whenever someone checks in to your business on Foursquare, all of that person’s Foursquare connections know this–increasing brand awareness and maybe even stopping by to see the person who checked in.

So using location marketing, at this point, is primarily about leaving clues and tips and information in the world that others can pick up on.

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