Checking in on location-based social media, such as Foursquare, which encourages consumers to “check in” at a business using their smartphone, allowing them to keep the people in their social network constantly apprised of their whereabouts and giving the person who checks in more visibility online in the process. For example, friends meeting at a bar/club or family members gathering at a ballpark/stadium can check in to those locations using these social media tools. And in exchange for patronizing and promoting their venues via these tools, many businesses reward their customers. Foursquare, for example, bestows the title of “Mayor” on those frequenting a particular establishment the most often during a given period of time. Many restaurants will offer a fee appetizer for a 4Square check in. Some retail stores offer a percentage off your purchase. In a nutshell, check-in promotions offer one more channel for marketers to engage consumers with a company’s brand.
Before you try running your own check-in campaign, check out these 7 tips for success:
1. Reward the Right Behaviors
As with any other marketing initiative, it’s important to provide incentives that reinforce the behaviors you’re trying to induce. If in-store visits are the goal, your check-in promotion needs to reward that behavior. If your objective is creating awareness for a specific product or service, be sure your check-in promotion reflects that.
2. Get the Ball Rolling
If you’ve ever been the first one to arrive at a party, you know that awkward feeling when it’s just you and the host until the other guests arrive. Seed the action by offering a special incentive for the first, or the first 10, checkins.
3. Stand Out From the Crowd
Anybody can offer 10 or 20 percent off this or that. Where’s the excitement in that? Create check-in promotions that make customers feel special. Hold a monthly inauguration celebration for your “Mayor” during your busiest times, and do it up right. Hand them the proverbial keys to your business, or give them a one-of-a-kind T-shirt or baseball cap. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be memorable and fun.
4. Keep in Touch… With Your CRM
While a standalone or one-off check-in campaign has some value, check-in promos tied into the rest of your inbound marketing programs are better still. Make sure you connect your check-in systems to the rest of your inbound marketing platform so you can analyze the results and leverage the social networks you’re working so hard to tap into. When you check in – share that with Twitter and Facebook as well to encourage even more engaging from your friends and aquaintances.
5. Follow Through in Advance
If check-in campaigns are new for you (and for about 98 percent of you, they are), be sure that everything needed to fulfill the rewards is in place before you roll out the campaign and that your staff understands how the campaign works. Almost nothing is worse for a business than setting up expectations and failing to deliver on them.
6. Spur Socialism
Remember, this is social media. Use checkins to multiply the uptake on your campaign by reminding and rewarding people who bring a buddy—the more the merrier. Not everyone has to check in; they just have to show up with someone who does.
7. Metrics Still Matter
Use your inbound marketing platform to measure and analyze the results of your check-in promotions. Keep an eye on total checkins, total spend, spend per checkin, social influence, and how many other online behaviors (such as email opt-ins, Likes, or tweets) customers engage in.
Check-in mobile marketing has really just gotten off the ground. Every marketer is learning as they go, but here’s the key—learning. Apply solid marketing principles, and test and modify so you can improve with each campaign.