Location, Location, Location: 3 Tips for Brand Marketers

As you can imagine, the amount of social activity occurring at events or retail locations is immense. Here are a few ways to use that information for good.

Location is now a thing, a real thing. In my opinion, that thing is the ultimate connector. Yesterday, I snapped a photo out on the golf course, applied the Mayfair filter, added a short quirky description and posted it on Instagram. It wasn’t until I realized I forgot to add my location that I had to delete the photo only to post again.

I had messed up and the story was incomplete without tagging Charles River Country Club, so my friends and followers could fully understand and appreciate the post. That location was not only part of the story; it was actually part of the reason I was posting in the first place.

Society’s interest in geo-tagging isn’t a fad; it’s just a simple feature so we can tell more thorough and interesting stories faster and easier (thank you, Foursquare).

But what does location tell you beyond the obvious and specifically to brand marketers who are now harnessing the power of social and location? Yes, I was at Charles River Country Club yesterday, but what else did I tell the world and more importantly, what did I tell marketers?

As you can imagine, for brands that are looking to enhance their offerings and relationships with customers by interacting with them, this presents tremendous opportunity. If Titleist would have been following all of the social activity happening on the Charles River CC yesterday, they would have learned that I was there, and hitting their balls.

They would have also known who I was with, that I was swinging Cleveland clubs and had a few Bud Lights at the turn. By looking a little closer, they would have also learned who I was, what I cared and didn’t care about, my interests, hobbies, types of places I frequent and travel too. There is marketing gold sprinkled all over my Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and Facebook. It’s all public, and all you have to do is look.

Is this the future? Nope, it’s the now. Everything I just talked about is real and is happening right now, so time to hop onboard as location becomes one of the most powerful data points marketers can get their hands on today.

Flipping my hat around, below are 3 tips for brand marketers on how to leverage location.

Tip #1: Engage People Who Are Physically On-Site

One of the most common use-cases associated with location-based social marketing, is simply engaging people while they are physically at a specific location, such as a hotel, restaurant, retail store, concert venue, or on a golf course. Imagine if you could connect with an influencer, who holds the keys to spreading the word about his/her terrific experience at your store with thousands and thousands of people. This is what we call marketing gold.

Marketers do this today using traditional social media tools, listening to people who are already talking about their brands, including people using #xBrand or @xBrand. But now, using location tools, you can engage with people who are on-site that aren’t necessarily talking about your brand, and for the record, that is upwards of 90 percent of social posts.

As you can imagine, the amount of social activity occurring at events or retail locations is immense. In fact, at a recent U2 concert in New York’s Madison Square Garden, there were more than 8,200 social posts produced during the event, however, only 1,400 posts were tagged, leaving 6,800 posts and potential influencers lost in the ether. The sheer numbers around this show the stark contrast between actual social activity and conversations that are typically captured due to a tagged brand. Brand marketers need to have access to the whole pie, not just a 10 percent sliver.

Tip #2: Be Timely

Depending on your marketing goals the element of time can be as important as the location itself. Some campaigns truly need to be in real-time for the marketer to extract value and a solid ROI. Lets use my golf outing for an example.

Yesterday, while I was on the course, if the social manager for the Country Club had reached out to me via a comment or DM and just sent me a simple, “Thanks for playing Charles River Country Club today. We hope you’re still out enjoying the amazing weather. Hit ’em straight.”

Well, this would have totally added to my already awesome experience. On the flip side, if I had received that message today, um, not only would it have had little to no effect, it may have totally backfired and that same message may have just become worthless. So, jump into the customers’ shoes and be sure to leverage time as a key piece of data before you act on any social engagement or advertising.

Tip #3: Be Courteous and Be Smart

Simply put, don’t be an idiot.  Don’t spam, less is more and make it count.

This is even more important when the post doesn’t include the keyword of the brand. In fact, this is a big question that comes up with our customers all of the time.

They ask, “If someone is at my hotel, and they post a really great photo of a sunset, and they don’t include the name of my hotel or keyword or any text at all, can I reach out to them without being creepy?”

The answer: Absolutely yes. People who are sharing photos or videos or tweets publicly are opting to share this information with the world and they are also opting to get some love, “likes and comments,” and those are what those buttons are for.

When was the last time you got ticked off that someone gave you an extra like? So, if it’s a beautiful photo of the sunset, let them know that you love their photo, even if you have a different agenda in mind. For example maybe you want to ask them for permission to repost that photo on your website, well, stay on topic and get to know them first and I’m sure things will work out from there.

Brands that will benefit the most by incorporating location-based strategies are the early adopters. It’s a virgin market right now and we are seeing enormous ROI. Will your brand join early and make the cut, or join late and fall behind the competition? I would love to hear your opinion.

Tony Longo is the CEO of Ground Signal, a location-based technology platform that gives brands the power to understand and reach local audiences and individual influencers anywhere in the world. Ground Signal fosters innovation and empowers users’ ability to extract valuable data and insights. Reach out to Tony and share your ideas via LinkedIn or Twitter.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.