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Top 5 Location-Based Social Media Sites

local social media marketingThe writing is on the wall. Let's acknowledge that location based social media sites or LBS are here to stay. They are not only cool, they are profitably cool. If you have not started using any of these social media sites to promote your business, it is high time that you do so. These sites make it possible for you to stay in touch with prospective buyers. There are a hoard of location based social media, and it is quite tough to choose the right one among them. So, here's our list of top 5 location based social media sites, and the gist of what they can do for you business.

Foursquare: Right now it is the most popular mobile application around. Thanks to the ever increasing user list of this location based social media site, you can connect with a lot of people. This is perfect for those who have just started using LBS or have a newly opened business. You can use the sites reward point facilities and “mayor of the venue” offer to your benefit. Foursquare is always open to the suggestion of providing badges for your brand of business. This is a chance for you to suggest your brand name and get a badge, which your frequent visitors can get and display on their own individual pages.

Facebook Places: As obvious, Facebook too has also come up with its own location based site - Facebook Places. If you want to inform the world about your arrival, then this is the right application to use. Right now, it is best suited for iPhone users; however, it is believed that the company will bring out different versions for Android and BlackBerry phones as well.

Groupon: Use this location based social media site to advertise your brand name, special deals, discounts, and reward points. Groupon is, undoubtedly, a great place to get immediate attention of your customers. Moreover, you can also use the referral scheme to encourage your buyers to ask their friends to check in as well.

Blippy: Set your Blippy account and quite instantly, you will know what people think about your products. People post the reviews of products that they have purchased or the movie they have seen. This makes the site an ideal tool for knowing the pulse of the population. Open your page and find out what people are saying about your offerings or what improvements and changes, if any, they expect. The application allows it to be merged with Facebook updates too.

Loopt: Amongst the hordes of location-based social media sites, Loopt is another site that you can depend on. This is a good site to stay updated about people within your vicinity, a good tool to stay connected with your friends and contacts. Moreover, you can announce rewards and make promotional moves highlighting location-based discounts. Another facility is the ability to use Loopt Star Facebook game to let people win coupons.

Captivating Posts for Tour & Travel Industries to Garner More Engagement on Social Media

captivating-postsLooking for fresh ideas to post on social media? We’ve rounded up some topics to get folks sharing, interacting and wanting to visit!

  • Post a photo of your resort pool with a caption, “Who wants to play? MARCO!...”
  • Post photos of local or your speciality food – everyone loves food pictures!
  • Post photos of the lovely grounds, flowers, the view, sunrise, sunset with the caption, “who needs a vacation?”
  • Photos of things to do… swim, scuba, kiteboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, etc and ask visitors what their favorite water sport is?
  • Sinking your toes in the sand with a caption, “Wish you were here!”
  • Post a beautiful photo of your resort or view and add the caption, “Tag yourself if you need a vacation.” You could even make this into a contest if you want and select someone who tagged themself as your winner.
  • Post a photo of something unique visitors would see so they can almost envision themselves there - local street vendors, a unique artifact (totem pole, statue, pier, etc) or well known sign (Welcome to Las Vegas) that signifies your visit-worthy locale
  • Post a photo of things going on nearby: a street player playing jazz, a surfing event, a race. You never know who’s looking and what they’re interested in - it just may be what you capture a photo of!
  • If you offer excursions or travel related services, post photos of what they will see on the trip and post a caption like, “You’re invited” or “Here’s what you’re missing!”
  • Who is your demographic? Older retired couples? Singles? Young adventurous types? Post something that would appeal to them - a bicycle built for 2 that they can rent? Excursions for solo travelers or maybe a wild and adventurous trek.
  • Post how your business is contributing to sustainability, eco-tourism, protecting coral reef, wildlife conservation, low water usage, recycling, energy conservation, local sourcing of food, etc
  • Ask people what their favorite thing to do when visiting is
  • Post a screen capture of the current weather conditions and a caption saying, “it’s perfect here for you to come visit”
  • Post photos of the various things to do when traveling with kids
  • Share posts and photos from other nearby businesses that your demographic might be interested in. (IE: if you’re a resort, you might want to post photos of a travel excursion that went on a trip to XYZ and shared it on their page)
  • Ask visitors what their favorite beach is, favorite snorkeling spot, favorite place to eat
  • Take a photo of some “off the beaten path” place and ask if folks can identify where it is or what the photo is of
  • Iguanas? Tropical Fish? Birds? Share photos of sights and sounds of nature around you.
  • Stage a photo of cervezas under a palm tree on the sand, a surfboard at the beach on top of a jeep, guests getting on gear to go on an excursion, etc - anything that makes visitors wish they were there living in that moment!
  • Take photos of guest having fun, enjoying their time or relaxing. Ask them if you can share it on your website blog (even better to get a model release signed) as well as on Facebook. Ask them to tag themselves or if you may.

When you find what your visitors interact with the most, do it often, but also don’t forget to still have a good mix that will appeal to your target demographic.

Restaurateurs Guide to Rockin on Pinterest

Showcase your food optionsPinterest allows you to share as well as organize every interesting thing you see on the web. With the help of this pinboard-style social picture sharing site, you can produce and manage a wide variety of theme-based images, which may include interests, leisure pursuits, events, and more. Since users can ‘like’ photos, browse other pinboards to get ideas and inspiration, and ‘re-pin’ images to their own assortments, this medium can help you to drum up publicity for your business and brand.  Let us see how restaurateurs can benefit from Pinterest:

Posting pictures of food: Since Pinterest is more of a visual platform, this is the best media to display high quality pictures of the various unique food items offered at your restaurant. Visual impact is much effective to woo new clients and retain your existing ones.

Post events: It is essential for you to share pictures of the events you entertain in your restaurant. People are attracted by varieties that are offered and constantly look for something new. Hence, keep improvising and updating these pictures.

Post pictures of your restaurant: Most people look for the ambience of a place, especially when they decide to dine out.  The interior of your restaurant would certainly make a huge difference to the ambience followed by the food that is presented with an appropriate customer service.

Post the ingredients: Though you may have your secret recipes, you must mention the special menus that are unique to your restaurant with some of the key ingredients used in them. With the increase in health awareness, people do look into what they eat and how hygienic it is.

Post offers: There are times when you would offer free drinks with a meal menu or let the 50th visitor enjoy a free starter. When you use the Pinterest to post these offers, you can expect more people to take note of such offers, which in turn may increase the number of visitors coming to your restaurant.

Post images of work areas: This actually makes a difference in getting more people. Posting the pictures of kitchen and the work areas projecting the chefs at work etc, would give an idea about the clean kitchen and other food items. This in turn would motivate more people to visit your restaurant.

Plan contests: From time to time, you may plan a contest with people who follow you on Pinterest. Offering the winner a free night out or dinner could make more people interested and even give you some word-of-mouth publicity, not to mention the re-pins that your post may get.

Talk about special achievements: You can pin about milestones achieved by your restaurant like being in business for 10 years, or talk about other successful milestones like hosting a dinner party for your city’s soccer team, making it special for a guest’s birthday or anniversary etc.

Post about other things: It’s not wise to always talk about your restaurant, recipes etc. At times, you may go off topic to pin about a special news or your city’s sport team to show that you really care about the place your live in and want meaningful interaction with fellow citizens. Pinning about your family roots and why or how you came into the restaurant business are also good ways to break the monotony.

Pinterest can help you tap into new audience while retaining your existing clientele. You can even increase the number of visitors to your restaurant’s website by using this medium wisely. You can use a Pinterest follow button and Pin It button on your website to let your clients easily connect with you and share your content online. So, use the tips mentioned above to give your restaurant business a boost.

Harnessing Social Networks to Boost Sales - Part I

Social-NetworkingTill a few years ago, marketing meant spending a deluge of money on a top notch advertising campaign, something which only big companies could afford. Then came the internet that changed everything with the concept of online marketing. Again, big companies with fat coffers and attractive websites scored the goal, which small entrepreneurs could hardly afford. However, a new revolution surfaced in the recent years with the arrival of social networking. Money was no longer the major concern as anybody and everybody could enjoy the benefits of social networking. Connecting with people and getting your message across was never so easy. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc provide you with instant connectivity and the power to reach out to thousands of people in no time at all.

Unlike the monologues of traditional advertising campaigns where businesses used to bombard customers with their message, social networking paves the path of multiple conversations. You can use the same to boost your sales as these platforms help in:

Communicating with your prospective and existing buyers: You can create a direct channel to connect with your present customers’ base and woo the prospective ones. Let them know about special deals, discount offers, end-of-season sales etc before others get to know about the same. Such an act will build trust and help you to forge a strong business relationship with your clients, resulting in augmented sales figures.

Listening to your customers: Encourage your customers to speak and act on what they have to share. If they praise some of your offerings, show a proactive approach by asking their suggestions for bettering the same. On the other hand, if they criticize a specific product or service, ask them how the same has failed to match their expectations so that you can set things right. Remember – participation is the key to effective social networking campaigns. So, make people feel important by seeking their opinion and act on their feedback to prove that you value their judgmental power.

Encouraging people to publicize your offerings: Word-of-the-mouth publicity helps a lot in getting the word out about your offerings. It adds to the credibility factor too as common people and not someone associated with the business is praising the products or services. So, to increase your sales, you should encourage your fan base or people in your contact list to spread the word. You may even offer some freebies or special deals for people who can successfully promote your offerings on the web. You can take a cue from Coca-Cola’s Facebook fan page that has taken the unorthodox step of displaying content generated by their users, while many other brands shy from doing the same.

If you are now wondering how you can get started with your social networking campaign, these steps can help:

  • Create an account for yourself as an individual on some social networking sites
  • You may create another profile for your business
  • Add people to your friend list
  • Expand your friend list. Add friends of friends, people from your industry or people interested in the kind of products or services you deal with.
  • Make your business page informative and interesting
  • Create a group about your business. Invite people to join the group. The more the members, the better will be your reach. Options like Become a Fan in Facebook enables a user to express his/her liking for your product or service. It creates a fan base, which in turn can act as your potential customer base. What’s more, new users also get drawn in through these existing fans.
  • Include blogs in your group. Fill it with all the latest updates and activities regarding your business. Add a personal touch so that your viewers feel more at home. Ask for reviews of your products or services from existing customers. This way, you can get assess to the mood of people, and have an insight into what works well and what doesn’t. Avoid sending bulk emails as it would lead to spamming.

As in any business marketing, you need to concentrate on a few basic things in your social networking campaign to make your business flourish:

Identify the target market: Conduct a thorough research into your business area and finalize on your target area. Identify your potential customers and try to reach them instead of taking your products and services to everyone.

Keep track of the changes in the market: You must be aware of the present market trends. You need to have knowledge about everything that may affect your business. A creative mind and smart innovation will give you the edge over your competitors.

Act on time: It’s a cat and mouse game. The faster you reach out to the people, the better it is for your business.

Have an open mind: Prospective and existing customers can often help you see something that you have either ignored or missed. So, it pays to have an open mind, listen to the people and act upon their feedback or suggestions. Remember – the willingness and agility to learn and interact effectively with people is the essence of social networking.

Though any one can create a social networking page, you need to identify the ones that can offer maximum leverage to your business. If you want to know more, stay glued to this place.

Harnessing Social Networks to Boost Sales - Part II Continues here.

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