If there is one marketing strategy I’ve been obsessed with in 2017 it’s geofencing.

Wikipedia defines geofencing as a virtual perimeter for a real world geographic area

Tactically it sounds more complicated than it actually is. In my opinion twitter is the best social network to use for geofencing as it costs nothing for a brand to enter the conversation.

One of the things many people don’t know about twitter is that by default all tweets include a geocode that gives an approximate area. Unless you turn it off your tweets generally include a geocode that is often invisible in the tweet itself but searchable via API or twitter client.

When you combine location parameters with a specific query that’s where things start to get interesting.

The formula is pretty straight forward:

Location (NYC) + intent phrase (what would ideal customers tweet about) = potential buyers

For example, If you are a coffee shop you can search for people tweeting about needing a cup of coffee specifically within a few miles of your location.

Pasadena + “need coffee” = people who might be interested in stopping by your cafe if given a nudge

From my seat geofencing is best used in two scenarios:

Engaging with customers NEAR your business

If your business has a physical storefront you can easily listen for people tweeting from your area.

Let’s use a friend’s slushie company (yes slushies) as an example.

Slushie geofence

I’ve set up three distinct filters here:

  • People tweeting about being hot within a mile of the business: well if you are tweeting about being hot then you might be amenable to buying a slushie
  • People tweeting about being parched within a mile of the business: same rationale as above but with different phrasing
  • People tweeting within a mile of the business: certainly a broader match but if they are in the location they could be open to an offer

Engaging with customers at locations relevant to your business

If your business doesn’t have a physical location the tactic can be modified to find posts near your ideal locations.

Let’s use a luggage company:

Screen Shot 2018 01 04 at 12.25.45 PM

Where do people talk about luggage? Airports of course

Here I’ve screened for people tweeting about luggage near JFK, LAX and Hartsfield (Atlanta) airports.

The feed creates thousands of tweets perfect for a luggage brand to jump into.

What’s so special about this strategy? IT’S NEARLY FREE

Let’s compare to location targeting on Facebook. Facebook’s targeting is scary good. You can get pretty granular with location BUT YOU HAVE TO PAY TO PLAY. In order to get an offer or message in front of an ideal location audience you have to run an advertisement which gets expensive quickly.

This is a scrappy strategy that companies of all sizes can use for a new way to reach their customers.