This blog post is guest-written by Simon Salt, CEO and co-founder of IncSlingers. He is a nationally-recognized speaker and blogger on the hottest topics in social media.
As with so many channels within social media, social location marketing, the process of utilizing Social Location Sharing platforms such as Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown and others as a marketing channel, seems most difficult for the B2B sector. Meanwhile, the opportunities for the B2C space seem almost endless, especially for those with physical locations.
However, for the B2B space it is a much tougher proposition. After all, many B2B organizations do not have locations that are open to the public. A finserv firm is unlikely to be interested in rewarding a visitor for becoming mayor of their offices. They might, however, want to be a part of the location revolution and include it in their marketing mix, but how?
The challenge here is to resist the “buzz” and understand the “why”. Why would this be an appropriate marketing channel for a lender, software company or office supply company? All too often, organizations feel that they should be “doing” something in social media and every time some new platform comes along they feel the pressure to add that to their mix. While understandable, it is also very unrealistic. Not all businesses are suited to all forms of marketing, and especially not all forms of social media. For example the bail bond industry is unlikely to have much success trying to join the Social Location Sharing marketing explosion. I’m not sure how many of their clients would want to share that they were trying to bail a family member or friend out of jail. Interestingly, however, some venues that marketers might think are also taboo prove not to be; strip clubs and gynecologists appear regularly on twitter feeds as places being checked into. Never underestimate just how much information people will share about themselves!
The most common point of entry at present for B2B organizations is through events. These give them a temporary physical location that can be “checked into” and that they can build a reward system around. However, given the short term nature of events, they have to be well thought through and ensure that the data captured around the rewards and check-ins are maximized in a way that benefits the organization.
In the past, this type of event marketing might have been as simple as a fishbowl draw, where attendees dropped their business card into a bowl and got the opportunity to win a prize (iPad anyone?). Now the same type of draw can be operated with broader messaging behind it. By creating a “game” that has people checking in and adding a specific comment to be qualified to enter, an organization can leverage attendees’ sharing habits to promote their company message, and all without additional cost.
Another method of entering any of these spaces, and Social Location Sharing/marketing in particular, is to expand the vision. By altering the point of entry to the process, many B2B organizations can find opportunities that they would have otherwise overlooked. For example, an office supply company might not have an offering directly to the end users of Social Location Sharing tools, but their customers might. For example, they could market window decals to coffee shops to put in windows that remind their customers to “check-in, become a fan (or like), or follow” the store. This way, they are still a part of the process, though not a direct player. They are still capitalizing on the opportunity presented by this marketing channel.
Obviously, this is only the briefest of overviews of how the B2B space can leverage social location marketing, but the opportunities are definitely there, and for those willing to make a few leaps, so are the rewards.