How Online Community-Based Services Can Effectively Market Your Business

How Online Community-Based Services Can Effectively Market Your Business

By Bob Speyer and Kristin Tomlinson

Numerous community or location-based services have come out that have grown into massive platforms for sharing and connecting. The most recognizable ones are Yelp, Foursquare, and Gowalla. These allow you to easily broadcast your current location on sites like Facebook and Twitter — promoting the services of various local retailers and businesses. By associating businesses with a physical location and promoting their services, loyal patrons influence others to stop by and visit. It’s free marketing for businesses and retailers, and it’s great for customers because they’re often rewarded with coupons and freebies for promoting their services.

Here are three take-a-ways on why these social sites are an effective marketing tool for staying connected and marketing a business.

1. FREE Advertising

Marketing a business can get expensive and time consuming, especially if you’re doing it solo. These sites not only allow you to market your business for free, but they allow others to market you as well, thereby increasing its exposure and popularity. If food is your game, then Yelp should be your master chef. Yelp increases restaurants awareness by allowing people to comment on the food, service, ambiance and overall feeling of their experience. They can also post “tips” on “must-have” meals on the menu, and what meals are worth avoiding. This is a great marketing tool because positive reviews about your business that are left on Yelp can send a lot of customers your way.

2. A Beer for Your Thoughts?

Who wouldn’t tell others about various places they go to on a daily basis if they were rewarded with a free beer, coffee, or food for doing so? Foursquare allows people to “check-in” to various destinations and share that location with your friends and other foursquare users. If you check into that place often enough, whether it be a local lounge, eatery or Starbucks, you are deemed “mayor” of that place and usually the business will reward you with free treats. It’s not only great for customers, but great for businesses because they not only gain added publicity, but if a place is popular and favored enough, adoring customers will bring other people in who they feel might enjoy the place as well, thereby increasing business.

3. Stay Connected

People are constantly on the go and find themselves out of touch with friends and family. Gowalla is a great tool that allows you to keep in contact and stay connected by seeing what places your friends and family frequent (and vice-versa). It gives you the opportunity to share various places with one another and meet up with friends and family that are in the same general location. The great thing about Gowalla is that it displays a Google map along with your current location enabling you to track down nearby restaurants, post offices, gas stations, etc by displaying streets names and freeways.

A Win-Win for Businesses and Consumers

Location-based awareness services are engaging because they allow people to use GPS capabilities in today’s mobile devices to check-in, tweet, facebook, review, refer and add their location while doing so. All these services are set-up around cities and enhance the kind of neighborhood, hyper-local, branding and community building that is so important to local businesses (big or small). The cool thing about these applications is that it’s a “win-win” situation. It’s great for businesses because it offers free marketing, and it’s helpful for consumers because it rewards customers for their continued devotion and promotion of the business.

Grow Your Business Online: These tips are meant to be used as a guideline to improve traffic to your site, increase your conversion rates, help turn visitors into buyers, and keep you ahead of the competition. Turning to a web marketer can ultimately save you time and money and increase your success online. The Web Success Team has many proven marketing strategies and techniques. The Team would be happy to discuss your web marketing needs with a complimentary consultation and web marketing assessment of your current site. Simply mention this article when contacting bob@websuccessteam.com or call 818-222-5643 for an appointment. Please visit our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter for more information. To your web success!

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