Location, location, location (even online)

Quick! Where’s the nearest sushi restaurant? Now, while you may know of a nearby location off the top of your head, research shows you’re also likely to pull out your smartphone and map out that location for us, complete with turn-by-turn directions.

According to a recent study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services, and they’re not just talking about people ousting mayors on Foursquare or earning badges on Gowalla (though those users are still quite an active group). Location-based cell phone services are about more than just fun – functionality plays a key role in their popularity.

Most of these users (28% of all cell phone owners and 55% of smartphone owners) use their phone for “good” – they’re getting directions and/or recommendations based on their phone’s GPS feature. Sometimes they’ll do this by using the built in map functionality on their phone and other times they’re using their location-based data via apps like Yelp, Facebook or mobile banking sites.

What could this mean for you as a business? Chances are, if you have clients or customers that visit your location(s), someone has already put you on the digital map, even without your knowledge. To capitalize on this growing trend, you can do these three simple:

  • Claim your location(s) and make sure that your contact info, address and any other info is accurate and up to date.
  • Merge any duplicate listings you may find, and periodically check up on your digital locations and note any changes.
  • Promote yourself and/or ask customers for feedback via positive comments, tips and reviews
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