There's more to Social Media than Facebook and Twitter 3: Foursquare
One of the most interesting directions social media has gone in the last couple years is mobile. That is, social media services and applications which are explicitly intended to be used by people who are on the go, through devices such as smartphones and tablets.
It seems strange, but it turns out, folks online like to share their physical location as they go about their day. This has opened up a new field in social media advertising, one that blurs the physical/virtual divide and utilizes the Internet to market to people who are standing outside your door.
Right now, the king of these location-based social services is FourSquare, which currently boasts at least twenty million users. The concept of the site is extremely simple: when you go someplace, you "check-in" with FourSquare and announce to your friends that's where you are.
FourSquare also has a series of innovative benefits for their users to encourage use. There's a scoring system that awards points for activities like checking-in at a new location, as well as the possibility of being declared "mayor" of a specific location by checking-in there the most times.
The demographics of FourSquare definitely skew towards females, by roughly 2:1, and age-wise, has a nearly perfect bell curve centering on those 35-44 and dropping off in either direction. Its users generally make around 25K-75K a year, and overwhelmingly have at least a partial college education.
Using FourSquare in Social Media Marketing
FourSquare marketing is fundamentally about giving people a reason to go to your location. Here are a few ideas on achieving that:
Offer discounts or freebies for checking in. These can effectively work like coupons, such as a restaurant offering a free desert (with entree purchase) for users.
Create a special title or perk for whoever is the "mayor" of your location at the moment. Even a piece of branded merchandise like a work shirt can be effective here.
Move beyond your location. The History Channel, for example, has tied FourSquare to a series of history facts worldwide so that someone checking in at the London Bridge would get a quick factoid about it. This can be a good way of keeping people aware of your brand even as they move around.
Make stand-alone displays interactive. It takes a bit of engineering, but it's entirely possible to set up a static display such as a sign to react to people checking-in near it and dispense items such as coupons or free samples.
On Coupon Apps
While FourSquare is probably the only major mobile social network worth considering at the moment, there is a lot of potential in partnering with a coupon app such as the appropriately named The Coupon App.
These work in conjunction with mobile devices that automatically track a user's location - mostly those using 3G and 4G cell networks - and deliver virtual coupons to prospective customers as they walk by your store. They also offer features such as coupons that are triggered by barcode scanning, an increasingly popular activity among mobile-savvy shoppers.
These services are generally quite inexpensive compared to most marketing, and can be extremely effective both in getting people in the door and inspiring them to interact with your merchandise.
Of course, this is really just the beginning. Mobile social advertising is going to get really interesting in a few more years, if Google's augmented-reality visor takes off. Imagine beaming virtual advertisements that appear "in front" of your visitors as they walk by, or potentially even interact with them directly.
The day isn't far off at this point.
Call DeepSky Marketing to find out how you can create profitable marketing strategies for your company. DeepSky Marketing is a company that provides businesses with profitable marketing systems and verifiable return on investment (ROI). To schedule a brief no-cost consultation call 707 823-3888.
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