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The Best Way to get Customers Online? Become a Pokémon.

In the ever-changing digital landscape, businesses are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting ways to reach and engage with users. Social media marketing focuses on the process of luring users from social media onto their websites, attempting to elicit a real-world response from a digital platform. No app or network has been more successful in this task than Niantic Labs’ Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go, we would imagine, requires very little introduction. We won’t bore you with the ins and outs of CPU/real world integration and the giddy sense of personal achievement that comes from spotting digital potpourri in a duck pond having walked twelve miles, all we will say is the rate at which casual users and gamers have latched on is nothing short of astounding. The hype around the game is so much that Japan’s chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga has issued a comment urging players to follow official guidelines listed in a specifically crafted government flier ahead of the country’s official release date.

Within seven days of it’s release in the US, Australia and New Zealand, it had already exceeded Twitter’s user base of 65 million in America, with mobile users spending more time playing the game than using Facebook. The app is now quite simply a global phenomenon, and like any other event of that scale social media marketers need to be taking advantage of the hype that comes alongside it.

Harnessing the hype of Pokémon Go

Short of undergoing incredibly expensive (and similarly fictional) pixel-replacement therapy to become a Rhyhorn and waiting for trainers to come and find you, there’s very little that can be done in-app to market yourself. Don’t get us wrong, we would absolutely relish the opportunity to train on behalf of your company, but you’re unlikely to see any return on investment aside from a Pokédex to rival Gary’s and control of your local Gym. (If all this terminology means nothing to you, you obviously didn’t grow up in the nineties)

Issues of nostalgia aside, the best marketing campaigns are always active, topically aware and responsive. Right now, Pokémon Go is possibly the most globally topical thing imaginable. It also has something relatively unique in that it is a global phenomenon with a local footprint. The fact that it is geographically-based, sending users to real world locations for digital rewards, could certainly result in an increase of foot traffic for your business.

Social media should be the bedrock of promotion for small and medium sized businesses. Integrating the Pokécraze could be a way to bridge the gap, converting digital engagement into real-world customers.

Local businesses are getting Pokésavvy with Pokéstop lure parties

A whole host of local businesses are already taking advantage of the craze to market themselves. With the app making use of real world locations, towns and cities have a selection of Pokéstops (plenty more jargon to come). If by some chance your business is one, or very near one, you are in a great position to encourage more foot traffic. By purchasing a selection of lures (there’s the jargon), you can attract more wild Pokémon to your area – something very enticing for trainers. Lures last a total of 30 minutes, and cost only 100 Pokécoins (or 79 pence in real money), so purchasing multiple costs very little and can last a few hours.

Many businesses are taking to their social channels to promote these “Lure Parties” (as they’ve become known), many offering special discounts and deals to trainers. Social media is the perfect place to promote these parties as the hype and dialogue can grow instantaneously. A healthy social following will also be something of a community of advocates for your brand, willing to extend your reach if you engage with them and share your exclusive offers.

Evolving social media dialogues put your brand in the mix

Hashtags are wonderful things, especially where location-based user-generated content is concerned. By making use of Pokémon Go’s popularity you open your social media marketing up to a whole other level of influencers. As you, and the Pokémon trainers you bring in, post content related to the game nearby players will take notice and come and join the party.

If you haven’t already, it might be time to think about Pokémon Go. It opens businesses up to a brand new style of marketing that is active, user-driven and constantly evolving. Poképun intended.

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