Geolocation applications are a growing trend and have become very attractive to advertisers and business owners as a tool to draw new customers. How important and useful for your business is it to check in using geolocation applications? Let’s see.
Geolocation applications, such as Foursquare, Facebook Places and Gowalla, can run on smartphones that know where you are at any given moment. If you happen to own a smartphone, you can use one of the geolocation applications to “check in” to places, tell your friends where you are and find out where your friends are and what they are up to. From a business perspective, the apps can be very useful if you are going to attend an event and you want to interact with some of your business associates. Geolocation apps have a much greater use than simply knowing where to find your friends and family at any given moment.
How can you leverage the growing popularity of the geolocation apps to increase your business? There are several useful ways to do that. You should find the following tips useful:
- Ensure that your location is listed on the apps: If your business is listed, when people get close to your building while they are using one of the geolocation apps, your business will come up as a nearby business. At this point, you can offer incentives in the form of promotions and coupons to those people in order to entice them to come into your business.
- Thank your customers by giving them prizes and discounts: Once they check in, you can offer your customers additional promotions. By checking in, they are helping you to bring about more awareness of your business and you are helping them by offering something that is valuable and that they will enjoy. A potential added benefit is that you stand to acquire new customers. The success for your business will come from word-of-mouth communication. Also, your existing customers will become more and more loyal to you and your business.
- Capture real-time location analytics: If you pay attention to the real-time analytics, you will get a much more precise idea of whom your customers are, when they check in to your business and what they are doing. The analytics will really help you to focus your marketing efforts more precisely.
There are many good reasons to check in using geolocation apps and many good reasons not to:
The advantages of checking in:
- Checking in allows you to express how accomplished you are to everyone with whom you are connected.
- Checking in gives you the opportunity to receive discount coupons from many of your favorite stores.
- Checking in provides you with a map if you are in an unfamiliar city. It lets you know where the deals are in that city and where to go.
- You can block anyone you want from knowing where you are.
- You can share information instantly.
- You can keep track of your travels for work with geolocation apps such as Foursquare. Cataloging that type of information helps you to have a clear idea of how much time and money you are actually spending.
The disadvantages of checking in:
- As impressed as you would like people to be after you have gone through your list of accomplishments, as it is with anything in life, it is all relative. You may have many accomplishments but they may be less impressive to other people than they are to you.
- Sometimes, receiving discount coupons for items that you don’t need and at a time when you really shouldn’t be spending any money is dangerous. It puts temptation right in your face and it becomes extremely difficult to resist.
- Giving other people specific information where you are at all times can potentially cause problems for you, especially if someone with bad intentions learns about your whereabouts. For example, if you go on vacation and check in about where you are and where you are going, you may leave your home vulnerable to being robbed.
- With Facebook Places, people can check you in without your permission. That can really put you in a bad situation and potentially get you into trouble.
- If you aren’t given any incentive to check in, you will be less inclined to do so.
Geolocation apps have many wonderful benefits beyond only creating direct business. Additionally, you can acquaint your new customers with your brand as well as increasing the brand loyalty of your existing customers. Your customers are used to using these apps and there is no cost involved. Make sure that you get involved as quickly as possible.
The concept of a geolocation app is an extremely interesting one and it brings technology and communication within the social media arena to the next level. There are advantages and disadvantages to checking in with geolocation apps and only you can decide if it is worth it for your business. Besides the geolocation apps that have already been mentioned, there are several others that you may want to check out: Loopt, Whrrl, Brightkite, Booyah, Where, and Scvngr. Have fun and start checking in!
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About the Author.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).