Location-based Social Media: Why business can't afford to ignore this
Over the last five-to-eight years we have no doubt seen the explosion of social media networks across the globe, but in the last two years, we have certainly also seen another micro-explosion, in mobile social media. It has become a more important medium for consumers, who not only like to check their Facebook feed post tweets on Twitter from their phones, but actively participate in location-based tagging and checking-in, using services like FourSquare and even Facebook with it's location-based check-ins.
The exponentially increased availability of smartphones, especially lower-end ones that appear in the market, and the greater difficulty in obtaining non-internet capable phones these days, means there has never been a greater scope of consumers who have the capabilities to participate in GeoSocial Interactions.
Location-based sites like FourSquare have certainly seen growth on their side, of very high magnitudes, for the ability to attract customers to their stores, events or specific locations. Whilst Facebook does have the standard check-ins, which allow people to check in at a location, leveraging the high popularity of the Facebook network in notifying their friends and tracking their friends, FourSquare goes the extra step, in allowing companies to create interactive geo-promotions to attract people to their stores.
I have recently worked on a project with a Sydney-based coffee shop, to implement social media strategy, to attract customers to the coffee shop through a combination of Facebook, Twitter and FourSquare campaigns. For FourSquare, we looked at a two-pronged initiative:
For existing customers, and ensuring we maintain loyalty, we looked at rewarding customers who checked-in every ten times, with a 50% off their next coffee. We could have also gone with having the leading check-in-et (the mayor), get an extra 10% off their coffee.
For new customers, and enticing new people to the store, we implemented the initiative of Friends Special, come in with your friends and you all check-in and there will be a table discount of 20%.
There are many different variants of specials and promotions that could be initiated, and managed by the store, even for a particular period of time.
The result of creative and heavy campaigns such as the ones mentioned, allows the place to be a featured or dominant position, whilst allowing the store to be able to directly engage and publish news and alerts to their customers. FourSquare also provide strong metrics for tracking users who check-in and interact with the store:
[box] Total daily check-ins over time
- Your most recent visitors
- Your most frequent visitors
- Gender breakdown of your customers
- What time of day people check in
- Portion of your venue’s foursquare check-ins that are broadcast to Twitter and Facebook
- If you’re a chain with multiple locations, see aggregated stats across all of them.[/box]
With my client being a bookstore as well as coffee shop, some businesses have employed creative scavenger hunting campaigns, such as checking-in to the store and following clues, posting the results on the FourSquare tips/notes section, and the correct combination would unlock certain prizes, whether it would be books or food/beverage rewards.
Another type of special that can be employed, would be to invite a mass amount of people to check in at the same time (they don't need to be friends) and when a certain threshold is reached, for the number of check-ins, within a specific period (such as 2 hours), a special is unlocked. This is what is called a Social Swarm.
So what will happen if businesses don't look at emerging socio-trends?
People are always on their phones, and especially when you are waiting for your order to arrive, you would sit aimlessly on your phone, searching the web, Facebook and twitter trends. Why not point them your way, give them incentive, and build your brand in the process? People walking on your street would be able to use the explore feature of the FourSquare app to see if any specials exist. If your business doesn't have any location-based presence, the person might just skip past your store and walk to the next place that has that reward...
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