Monday, July 27, 2009

3 location-savvy ways with social media

When I visit a big city, I'm most excited about the times I'll be able to hang out like a local, at a free concert in one of my favorite city parks...the kind that can make you forget, for a few minutes, the size of the city you're in. And when it comes to communicating about your organization, social media's got some built-in advantages for reaching out to your closest community, the local one that surrounds you. I've spent my career communicating for national groups, and know that those local outreach efforts often take a back seat--but that doesn't need to be the case anymore. Here are some easy ways to take advantage of social media's "hyper-local" abilities:
  1. Try targeted Facebook ads: Boost your organization's name recognition, public awareness, events participation and more with location-targeted Facebook ads (check out this handy guide from the Inside Facebook blog on targeting FB ads for location, gender, education and other demographics). Got a Facebook page? Send targeted messages to your fans based on their location (click on "send an update to fans," then check the "target this update" box to see your options for sending it to specific countries, regions or cities). They're not expensive--and you can set a daily expense limit to keep things under control. These are best when they drive Facebook users to a page, group or event listing that allow more interaction.
  2. Share pictures of your location. Picture-sharing sites are among the most popular social media options, and bloggers, tweeters and others should have access to photos of your campus, headquarters or other locations...without copyright restrictions or other limits. Post your photos on photo-sharing sites like Flickr, or on Facebook (the most-used of the photo sites), and be sure to include the "official" shots of your location, as well as some interesting details: Many of you work in buildings with great architectural features, historic significance, superior views, outstanding meeting space that others can get the idea. Take your photographer on a tour of your grounds or facility, then post the results and share them. Don't forget to share these on Twitter, too, using For some best practices in photo-sharing, check out this information about the Library of Congress's experiments doing it, and be sure to include the interactive features they did.
  3. Do the reverse: Ask others to shoot your location and share it. "It's Time We Met" is the Metropolitan Museum of Art's ad-and-social-media campaign, which encouraged visitors to photograph themselves near works of art in the museum. Not surprisingly, folks got creative, posing like statues, holding babies near paintings with similar infants, and, in a move I can't help but admire, wrapping a pal in toilet paper to pose as a mummy. Got members who are visiting an association headquarters, students new to campus or about to leave it, customers walking in your door every day? Ask them to share their photo-experiences, either on Flickr or Facebook, or on your website.

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