There are four primary social media websites that have taken the lead in this approach to local marketing:
Facebook Places Deals: A feature of the Facebook mobile app, this marketing tool allows your offer to appear to Facebook users when they are in the vicinity of your location, or when they “check-in” there.
Google Local: Google Places is a directory-type listing that you can control. It interfaces with Google+, Google Maps (on the Google mobile app) and with Google’s localized search engine listings. Include a special offer on your Google Places listing and it will appear in each of these other places in the Google online universe.
Foursquare Specials: Foursquare was the first of the mobile check-in services. It is notable for its fun, game-like point system and original badge system for users. Offers can be set up to reward repeat customers or first-time visitors—or any criteria you choose.
Yelp Offers: The Yelp social media review website also allows local businesses to offer special discounts or BOGOs. What better time to make an offer than when someone is searching for reviews of local businesses that sell a product or service they need?
Local restaurants, entertainment venues, retail stores, and consumer service businesses have proven the value of these social media efforts. Beyond building sales and referrals for your business, these social media marketing strategies can improve your search engine rankings, since social media activities now weigh into the search engines’ ranking algorithms.