In 2012 we have seen several brands starting to take local optimization of their social channels seriously. Why? Because brands are realizing they need to set up their locations for maximum search, engagement, and discovery. It must be done for Facebook and Foursquare, which also optimizes a number of third-party apps powered by their venue data, such as Instagram, Path, Uber, Viddy, and hundreds more.
A brand’s local Facebook pages and Foursquare venues are brand assets that ought to be managed accordingly. Locations need to be properly claimed and optimized with consistent branding and accurate metadata (specifically their lat/longs) to maximize the value of these assets.
Two recent developments will significantly increase this value:
First, Facebook just announced a major update to its mobile apps that puts local “search, engagement, and discovery” at the center of the mobile experience – at the center of the most popular mobile app on the planet.
According to Facebook, its updated Nearby tab "helps people discover places near them based on their friends’ recommendations. People can explore by category (ex: restaurants or hotels); connect to businesses directly from their phone (by liking, checking in, calling, or getting directions); rate the places they visit via a five-star system; and share their recommendations with friends."
Of course, in order for this to work, those places need to be claimed and managed with proper branding and accurate metadata including the all-important lat/long (geocode). Naturally, the popular places, i.e. those with the most customer engagement, will rise to the top.
Also on the horizon, according to The Wall Street Journal, is a partnership between Apple and Foursquare for Apple Maps/iOS integration. "The discussions with New York-based Foursquare come as Apple has been talking to a number of companies that collect local data to improve its new mapping product. Foursquare has amassed business listings and collects data about the relative popularity of places as well as user-generated tips about them that could help Apple's mapping service stand out."
Up until now, local optimization on these social platforms may have been a luxury for many brick-and-mortar brands. Now, however, it’s a strategic imperative.
Rob Reed is Founder and CEO of MomentFeed, the first social marketing platform built for mobile. MomentFeed brings together Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, and Instagram as a unified solution for connecting brands and consumers at the point of sale.