July 20, 2016

If you’ve so much as turned on the news or logged onto social media for 5 minutes recently, you’ve heard of Pokemon GO. Whether you agree with it or not, play it or not, like it or not, you cannot ignore it.

Which is why I’m writing about it.

I am not one to jump on a bandwagon just cuz it’s flying by. But, when I can see the real value in a current trend, you can bet I’ll share some tips with you.

So, if you’ve heard about the whole Pokemon GO thing, but have no idea what it really is (besides people walking around with their phones chasing imaginary cartoons), check out this post from LifeHacker for a quick recap. Otherwise, go to Google to find a bazillion posts on the topic (yes, it seems like everyone has jumped on the opportunity to write about this… haha, I know, look at what I’m doing.).

And this article has a ton of information on the popularity of the app – and why you should care about it. Basically, if you want to target anyone from elementary schoolers to retirees, Pokemon’s got you covered!

But essentially, Pokemon GO is an app (for both Android and iOS), and available in certain geographic locations, that uses your mobile device’s GPS to take you on a hunt. If you remember or heard of geo-caching, this is like that, but way more obsessive 😉 The game is augmented reality, meaning it’s adding to the world you are already in. When you look through your phone’s screen, you’ll see the same thing you see in real life, but there will be a Pokemon character on the steps, or in that door, or on top of a tree. It’s then up to you to catch them and do a bunch of other stuff that I quite honestly don’t understand (no, I haven’t actually played the game).

If you’re scratching your head in confusion or wondering how on Earth this has anything to do with your business and your social media strategy, hang with me for another minute…. we’re getting to that!

First and foremost, this whole Pokemon GO craze is most impactful for those businesses that have a physical location. Actual brick and mortar stores are seeing foot traffic and new customers in droves if they find themselves in the proximity of Pokemon.

So, if you’re an actual storefront or physical location, you can use this to your advantage!

There are numerous ways to encourage Pokemon chasers to find and frequent your business.

  • Find out if you’re near a Gym or Pokestop for immediate and easy results. This article has some really good tips on how to search out this information (if the roving strangers haven’t already told you!). If you’re not near a Pokestop, you can actually submit a request to become one (not sure how long it takes to process requests). Fill out this request form to get started.
  • Pony up a few bucks to buy Lures to attract Pokemon to your location. The more Pokemon, the more people. This article has instructions and information on setting up lures.
  • You can also go old-school and put up signs out front or in your windows letting people know that Pokemon roam here.
  • Offer free charging stations in your business location – Pokemon GO is a huge battery suck so if people can charge up on their hunt, they’ll happily spend time in your establishment
  • Offer discounts or incentives to Pokemon chasers who purchase in your business

Ok, but I told you I was gonna show you how to boost your social media strategy with this whole craziness, right?

Once you know you have Pokemon in the area, it’s time to get social! Here are a few ways you can use social media to your advantage:

  • Want more than just a sign out front of your store, buy Facebook and Instagram ads to promote your business as a hotspot for Pokemon. Use hyper targeted demographics to narrow right down to your specific geographical location to get the most bang for your buck.

pokemon ad

  • Buy a Snapchat filter with your business name and a Pokemon theme and encourage people to use the filter when they catch a Pokemon in your location.
  • Use Instagram or Snapchat to feature champion gamers or frequent customers who catch the most (or rare) Pokemon at your location.
  • Use Twitter or Snapchat to provide real-time updates on how many Pokemon have been caught at your location.
  • Encourage user generated content by having your customers upload images and tag your business in them.
  • Have people geo-tag their images on social media (especially Instagram) with your business name to make it easy to find your Pokemon location.
  • If you’re offering a discount or promotion to Pokemon players, advertise this on social media too to encourage more people in your area.
  • Offer Pokemon themed items – restaurants could have a cocktail or appetizer named after Pokemon; I went into BestBuy where they had a sign encouraging you to get a smartphone upgrade to “catch em all”.
  • Make sure you’re using #PokemonGo or #Pokemon hashtags on your posts too!
  • Use location specific hashtags too for your local area or business.

So, now you’re probably thinking, hey Jenn, this is all great if you have a physical store front. But what if you don’t? What if you work from home or are a virtual location? Can you still take advantage of the Pokemon GO craze?

Sure, if you get creative!

Since Pokemon GO is based on people being out in the “real” world and walking by various places, you have to find ways to get into these places.

  • See if you can collaborate with a local business to include your logo or signage. Photos and passersby will still see your business info.
  • You could invest in the Snapchat filters with you business name for popular Pokemon locations like gyms or Pokestops.
  • If you or your employees are playing Pokemon, have them document their game play on your social media channels – what level are they at, what rare Pokemon have they found, what locations have they found most rewarding, etc.? Encourage your audience to chime in with their game play and statuses.
  • If you have branded products or merchandise, reward customers who take Pokemon photos with your items in the photo.

The game is also looking at offering sponsored locations where businesses could pay to have their name associated with locations in the game. You can likely assume this will be higher ticketed advertising but it’s one more way for businesses of any type to get in on the viral engagement.

If you think this is a fad (or if your boss does), well, you may be right. But think about how little you have to invest to bring in significant increases in revenue right now. Even if this “fad” only lasts a month or two, do you want to pass up a month or two of double or triple revenue? Not to mention, think of all the new customers you will get during this “fad” period and how they turn into new long term customers. And, what if it’s not a passing fad? Getting your feet wet now will show you what works and what doesn’t so that you can evolve and grow your strategy over time for even more success in the long run.

Did you find this helpful? Please share:
  1. Superb Jenn. Even at my location, where POKEMON GO is still officially unavailable, we already have Pokemon GO pizza, discounts at electronics shops for showing that you are on certain level etc.
    Compliments also for you to write an article, which most likely “catches” the business owners searching on Google “how Pokemon Go can help grow my business”.

    1. Way to take advantage of the trend! Even if you don’t actually have access to the app yet. Hopefully this sets up the momentum for when the app does become available in your area.

  2. Another option is to incentivize customers to play Pokemon and share their pics on social media . Ask players to aim Pokemon on products they want to buy, and each photo they share with a product tagged with your business name will get them a special discount!

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