9 Ways B2Bs Can Excel With Location‑Based Social Media

February 23, 2012

This article was originally published in HubSpot’s Blog.

B2B companies don’t often see how location based social platforms like Foursquare, SCVNGR or Facebook Places can benefit them or their customers. However, there are numerous opportunities for these type of companies to market themselves, its just harder to identify the strategies that’ll help draw the same results a B2C company would see using these social channels. Here are the 9 best B2B uses of check-in based social platforms with some of the companies that use them.

foursquare iphone

1.) Claim Your Business – It may seem like a no-brainer, but many companies don’t have their business listings claimed in Foursquare, Facebook Places, SCVNGR or other widely used services. This is a missed opportunity for your business, regardless of industry. It’s not required that you claim your location before someone is able to check-in but you may be missing vital information like a phone number, web address, Twitter handle or a physical address that a user was looking for. Claim your listings to ensure they’re both branded and optimized at every location for the best experience every time someone decides to check-in, no matter the service they’re using. All verification requires is a phone number or a bill to claim a location as your own. Unfortunately, this can be quite a tedious process if you have multiple locations.

2.) Add Foursquare Tips – Companies are now able to leave tips at various venues (physical locations) from their very own Foursquare page as their brand and not as an individual user. These tips will pop up on a user’s mobile phone if a user checks-in nearby or at the venue where your B2B left a tip. The tips generated by your B2B will appear on your Foursquare page for viewing on the Foursquare application on your phone or on your desktop/laptop. Tips offer insights about a location that are helpful and will drive further recognition of your business.

The key to applying Foursquare tips to a B2B is understanding where physical location factors into your sales funnel. Think long and hard, where will your customers (other businesses) see these tips and also find them relevant to the location and the products and services you offer.

Barracuda Networks Map

For example, Barracuda Networks is a security, networking and storage solutions company that provides most, if not all of their services to other businesses. This B2B has started a promotional tour of the nation called the 2012 Velocity Tour to promote their product offerings. They’re stopping at relevant conferences, hotels, restaurants and other locations to spread the word of their company. This marketing tour is the perfect opportunity for Barracuda Networks to leave tips about their upcoming showing at the particular locations they are planning to stop and promote at. Leaving tips at the conference locations throughout the tour will be the most beneficial because conferences often attract other businesses and tech savvy individuals, giving you more opportunity for exposure on Foursquare. This could work for Barracuda Networks because it is an easy addition to an existing marketing campaign. An important question for you is how can you adapt using Foursquare tips at physical locations so that it makes sense for your B2B?

3.) Creating Lists of Tips on Foursquare – Creating lists of your Foursquare tips allows you to group your tips based on a subject of your choice like a list of airports with WiFi or restaurants with vegan options. B2B’s can group their existing tips based on the nature of their tips. Lists of tips are beneficial because it helps users quickly see which tips are most applicable to them, while also allowing users to follow these grouping of tips for future additions to the list. Based on the example above, Barracuda Networks could group all the tips for their 2012 Velocity Tour on one list, separating it from other tips on their page. The creation of lists is up to you, as long as their relevant to your B2B and truly benefit your audience based on how you’ve organized them.

4.) Networking & Buzz at Conferences – Like we just discussed above, conferences are often an amazing networking opportunity for businesses to connect with other businesses and industry professionals. Many B2B’s thrive when it comes to attending industry conferences for sales leads and more. Take your networking to the next level at these conferences, not just with tweets and posts on Facebook, but by checking and promoting yourself on Foursquare, Facebook Places and SCVNGR. These services allow you to check in alerting others on these networks that you’ve here, allowing you to post a message as well. It’s one way to standout from the other conference attendees. Reach out to your audience, let them know where your B2B can be found at the conference, as well as what you’re looking to accomplish while you’re there. Do research on your own as well, by seeing who else has checked in and what they’re messaging about. Comment on check-ins of relevance and make lasting connections with other B2B’s, potential customers and others.

5.) Check in with Clients – Whether you’ve got an existing network or you’re starting from scratch on SCVNGR, Facebook Places or Foursquare, showing your current and future friends/followers you’re active is a vital way to increase buzz about your business. Check in at meetings with your clients, showing you’re involved in your industry and most importantly, thriving. Be sure not to share before the time is right with particular clients, simply practice common sense. To ensure the most exposure from these check-ins, follow your employees, existing clients, potential clients, industry partners, competitors and other B2B’s of interest to your business. They’ll be more likely to follow you in return if you’re active on the particular network, thus seeing where you’ve recently checked in.

6.) Partnerships – Explore partnerships with other B2B’s, B2C’s and nonprofits to promote a particular campaign that has a location based component. This is an effective way to incorporate your branding into a service like Foursquare, even if your products or services wouldn’t regularly fit the platform.

For example, American Express started partnerships with Sports Authority, H&M and a handful of restaurants in New York City offering a loyalty coupon. Through this campaign they’re using Foursquare to draw customers to the physical stores of a few B2C’s, while increasing impressions of their brand and giving incentives to Foursquare users to use their services. In terms of your B2B, stop and think about what organizations would make sense to partner with on a local, state or national level and decide what benefit they would receive from a partnership of this nature.

7.) Market Research – When it comes to truly making long lasting relationships with industry partners, as well as existing and prospective clients, understanding their activity on every channel is key. Any information your sales team can gather about your market can aid in strengthening existing and future relationships. Monitoring where others check-in, as well as the activities they complete on these location based networks is more information to work with in the future. This research can help tell you what locations to leave Foursquare tips at, give you ideas for campaigns that will help engage your customers, understand which location based networks your audience is on and keep you active on these networks to increase interest in your B2B.

8.) Competitive Analysis – Just as you can look to see how customers and industry partners are interacting on location based channels, you should also look to follow the activity of your direct competitors. See what they are doing right and what they’re doing wrong, changing your strategy accordingly. See what locations seem popular in your industry to optimize and create your own spin on an existing technique by creating your own unique list of tips on Foursquare or one of a kind challenge on SCVNGR.

Competitive Research

9.) Lighten Up – One of the most important things you can do is have fun with whatever location based social network you choose to utilize for your B2B. Social media should be a fun and engaging experience for your users, providing them with a true value from their engagement with your company, whether it’s on Facebook Places or any other network. If you force participation from one of these communities, it’ll come off as such. Work with what you know best, your company. Take what you do well and relate it to a common experience you share with your existing audience. Your strategy will resonate best if it’s relevant, engaging and most of all rewarding to your audience.