How do you streamline social media? That’s a question posed by brands trying to cut through the noise and connect with their audience. It turns out the answer is to bring things a little closer to home, in the form of location-based marketing. 

Research shows that attention spans dropped from 12 seconds in 2008 to 8 seconds in 2013, with that number likely to fall further. Such a short amount of time means you don’t have much room to make an impression. 

Find a way to make your content more personalized, however, and the chances of resonating with your audience increases by 75%. Location-based marketing is at the crux of personalized content, and typically uses a mobile device’s location to alert users about nearby offerings.  

When done correctly, it has the power to increase reach and get people interacting with your brand. 

Here’s how to win at location marketing on social media.

But first… location-based marketing for social media, explained

Using social media for localized marketing helps brands create specific content that engages with audiences on a local level. Think ground-level marketing, and you’re not far off. The idea is to build a local presence, focusing on social media users who are in close proximity to your offering.

Utilize the data

A staggering 71% of social media users opt in to location sharing, so it’s no surprise to see that location-based marketing is set to become an even bigger trend in 2020. There is plenty of data available on those who choose to share their location — to the point where marketers are often left wondering how to utilize it.

Location-based marketing comes to the fore as one of the primary ways to make sure that data is leveraged and turned into return on investment (ROI). By using segmentation data, marketers can identify patterns and use the results for tailor-made targeted advertising campaigns.  

Whether it’s monitoring events or responding to receiving customer profile information, data can open up a myriad of possibilities to analyze customer movement patterns. The result will be better business decisions and new market insights that lead to efficient digital strategies.

Brand example: Herradura Tequila

High-end tequila brand Herradura Tequila tapped into Foursquare, using the social network to inform locals about the location of their nearest Herradura Tequila. With the campaign “Luck is Earned”, the brand used data provided by Foursquare to target people located near Herradura Tequila shops with content designed to get them heading to the nearest store.

Pay attention to location check-ins

It is becoming increasingly popular to use social media to inform our friends when we check in somewhere. From a simple check-in on Facebook to other social media platforms centered around location, there are plenty of options for local marketers to target.

Foursquare is perhaps the most well-known location-based social network (though it’s now primarily a location-data intelligence company) that brands use to their advantage. With social media check-ins, customers can discover points of interest nearby, and unlock deals.

Brands can monitor check-ins in, let’s say, a shopping center and use the information to send targeted advertising, perhaps in the form of a “mystery deal” that gets people to head into their store. Check-in targeting is popular on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, with brands sending targeted ads based on the location of their followers.

Brand example: Denny’s

American restaurant chain Denny’s used local check ins to focus on a particular set of customers that lived within range of one of their restaurants. Denny’s targeted them with personalized mobile advertising that encouraged locals to customize items on the menu . The result was an 11% increase for in-store visits for people who received the “build your own skillet” ad and a 34% rise for those targeted with the “build your own French toast ad”.

Target keywords and phrases

 Social media keywords

Location-based social media monitoring helps you avoid the pitfalls of using the wrong keywords to target audiences. This can be especially helpful for local events – eg, a sporting event where people are talking about the competing teams. 

Perhaps a particular game is taking place close to a store where you want to promote an offer. By analyzing the social conversations around the event, brands can target the keywords audiences use and join the discussion with local offers on products and services.

It doesn’t even need to be an event; marketers can source specific city and town names by using geo-tagging, which sees users add geographical information to various media on social networks. Brands can search for this geotagged content and monetize it by creating locally targeted ads. 

Brand example:  NFL Super Bowl Ads

Keyword strategies from brands vary from company to company. But there’s no doubt that businesses which advertised during the Super Bowl would have monitored social media to see trending keywords and phrases around their ads. Especially if they were smaller business doing regional advertising that only aired in a specific city and had a much smaller target audience.

Identify local buyer personas 

An impressive 63% of marketers use buyer personas to create their content, and it shouldn’t be any  different with location-based marketing. Thinking about local personas and mapping the best route towards connecting with them is vital for customer growth.

Look at ways to solve their potential pain points and whether any region-based issues might arise. Are there local events or landmarks that can be used as an advantage to personalize your message? 

Location-based marketing stands a better chance of hitting home with audiences as it taps into a geographical area they are familiar with. Painting a picture of your local customer and asking what problems they face can unlock plenty of marketing opportunities. 

Brand example:  Purple Mattress

Purple Mattress had the genius idea of targeting buyers in warm climates to sell their “sleep cool” campaign, which promoted new mattresses, as older ones become too during the summer months. The campaign was a resounding success, with Purple’s digital advertising director saying the location-based adverts enjoyed better success than any other forms of their marketing outreach.

Create a local strategy based around authenticity

Location-based strategy

Identifying local customers on social media and sending them targeted ads is one thing; finding ways to personalize content on a micro-level is another. There are ways for marketers to improve interactions, however. 

If you’re using Facebook, explore adding locations to your Facebook page. This is especially helpful if you have more than one store or branch. It’s also worth focusing on specific employees from different stores, going as far as asking local customers to come and say hi to the featured staff member, giving them a reward in the process.

It all roots back to personalization. Making the employees of local stores a focal point of your marketing can help pique interest from nearby customers who feel like they’re part of the story. Even if you don’t focus in-store, it’s hard to beat the power of reaching people who might share a very particular interest in your offering, which something Sony utilized…

Brand example: Sony Music

Sony Music used location-based marketing to promote awareness for an Elvis’ album. Starting in Elvis’ hometown, Graceland, Sony targeted local users on Facebook with ads promoting the album. The ad reached 55% of the targeted audience in the first week alone, increasing sales of the album in the process. 

Follow cultural trends with UGC and build a community

One of the key aspects of location-based marketing is the ability to appeal to a smaller group of customers. That means marketers can speak the “language” of their target audience, using social media data to segment towards a country or region. 

Understanding cultural differences gives marketers better insight into their audience and helps them craft a tighter messaging architecture. Supplying this strategy with user-generated content (UGC) adds an extra layer to things. 

UGC posts on social channels receive 28% more engagement than non-UGC posts.  Once you’ve connected with audiences on a cultural level, asking them to respond with UGC is a smart way to get people interacting and feeling like they are involved with the brand.

Brand example: Toyota

Toyota used Snapchat to get in touch with specific audiences, most notably with Latino users. Although they didn’t use UGC, the car brand created the “band together” campaign to get Latinos showing support for the Billboard Latin Music Awards. The idea of the campaign was to get people of Hispanic backgrounds engaged with Toyota by using a music show that was specifically designed for Latinos – and they  employed Snapchat to get the message across with Geofilters.

Location, location, location

Marketers have an opportunity to focus on local audiences at reduced costs, as location-based marketing tends to be significantly cheaper than traditional marketing methods. As the access to data improves, so too will local customer profiles. The best marketing gets in front of the right people with a message that resonates — and location-based marketing provides an opportunity to build highly-targeted audiences that become valuable customers.