Johannes Neuer:— Using Geo-Location Services to Promote Your Nonprofit


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With ten million Foursquare users, geo-location services are gaining traction. Learn how nonprofits can take advantage of these services and their gaming elements to market locations, events, and programs to a highly connected and mobile audience.

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  • Hi! My name is Johannes Neuer and I am the eCommunications Manager at The New York Public Library. Welcome to my session about leveraging geo-location services for your non-profit. Geo-location services using mobile phones have been around for a while …
  • Geo-location services using mobile phones have been around for a while but it wasn’t until the proliferation of so called smartphones that they really took off. In fact, Dennis Crowley and Alex Rainert founded a company in 2003 named Dodgeball, which allowed users in select cities to share their whereabouts with their friends via SMS messages using feature phones. Fast forward a few years, and smartphones outfitted with GPS and Internet access enter the market. These new devices are ideal platforms for the next generation of geo-location apps. Not only are these devices ready for geo; they are now also becoming abundant. Let’s do a quick show of hands of those who own a smartphone. The smartphone penetration is going on 50% in the U.S. by the end of this quarter according to a projection by Nielsen. Let’s find out what people are actually doing with their smartphones… Graphic: Smartphones to Overtake Feature Phones in U.S. by 2011 March 26, 2010
  • A recent study by ExactTarget showed that besides the obvious most popular activities such as making calls, texting, checking email, Internet browsing and updating Facebook, 28% of smartphone owners have used their device at least once to check in using location-based services. This represents 12% of the overall US online population, which if course is still a fairly small market segment. Let’s do a quick informal poll to find out about your geo-location habits. Who has installed a geo-location app on their phone? Raise your hand. Ok that’s about x% Not bad. And let me see a show of hands of who has checked in at least once using such an app? That’s about x% and clearly needs a little bit of work. So let’s take out our device and if your are on Foursquare, check in at the Kimmel Center. The good news is… Graphic: eMarketer,Rpp:50,Ro:1
  • The good news is that, according to a JiWire report, there is a notable increase in the interest in geo-location apps. This graph compares the interest in checking in among North American Wi-fi users in the last quarter of 2010 and the first quarter of 2011. Note that geo-location had the highest increase in terms of percentage points (22 percentage points) with almost 50% of survey respondents indicating interest in checking in. Now that we know that an increasing number of mobile users are checking in, it would be great to know who they are so you can determine whether this user base represents your target audience and whether you can built a strong geo-location campaign for your non-profit.
  • This May 2011 comScore report published by eMarketer indicates that the genders are almost evenly split with a light skew towards female and almost 60% of users are between 18 and 34. For comparison, the demographic profile at the most popular NYPL Foursquare venue is split 47% female to 53% male with 81% of users between 18 & 35. So geo-location is definitely better suited to market your nonprofit to young people and it’s important to keep this in mind. By the way, if you are looking for access to the eMarketer database with full articles and PowerPoint-ready charts, pay as visit to NYPL’s Science, Business and Industry Library at 34 th and Madison. Armed with this background information it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty and start planning your campaign. Stats for June 28, 2011 - July 28, 2011 SASB Female 47% +2% Male 53% 13-18: 1% +0% 18-25: 31% +1% 25-35: 50% +1% 35-45: 13% -2% 45-55: 2% -2% 55+: 2% +0%
  • Before starting any social media campaign, it’s important to define your goals. Ideally, these goals tie into larger strategic objectives of your nonprofit and your overall mission. They should be measurable to that you can track your performance. These goals can include driving visits, repeat visits, user engagement through tips, and of course brand mentions, which you get when users share the fact they checked in at your location on Facebook or Twitter.
  • With goals in place, spend some time determining, which platform is best for you. Facebook with 750 million members it has certainly the a built-in audience for Places. In my own experience on Facebook, I don’t see Places used very often even though the eMarketer chart tells me otherwise. Foursquare: 10 million users now and numerous high profile partnership with brands and nonprofits. Google Latitude: 10 million users; Google Maps 5.1 for Android allows for checking in at places not just lat/long Integrates with the fast growing Google+; that’s definitely one to watch Gowalla: 1 million users Disney partnership Scvngr: gaming platform to build branded experiences for national brands, local business, educational institutions and museums, costs money Feb 2011 estimated 1 million users Yelp: “In the past year alone, we’ve seen check-ins grow 71% month/month” In the end it comes down to where your constituents are. So listen and test. At NYPL we found that most people used Foursquare and now you are going to find out how we used this platform to promote the Library. Hopefully this case study will inspire you to come up with your own creative uses of geo-location services.
  • For NYPL geo-location is a natural fit because the Library has 90 locations the Bronx, Mannhattan and Staten Island. We started small with a test in just one location and that was the opening of the first green library in Manhattan – the Battery Park City Library. We set the bar pretty high for our loyalty special, which was an NYPL messenger bag provided by our retail shop, which was awarded to the first person with 25 checkins. The special was promoted in the monthly eNewsletter, Facebook, Twitter, and on our website. It took a while for users to reach the 25 checkins, but a happy regular of the Battery Park City Library claimed the bag and the Librarian wrote a wonderful blog post about it. This small campaign showed us that there were people on Foursquare but also that it wasn’t ready for prime time yet.Remember, this was March 2010 and Foursquare had fewer than 1 million users at the time. We did see the platform’s potential and, behind the scenes, we were already preparing for doing something bigger with Foursquare. We claimed all NYPL Foursquare venues, we added and corrected information and merged venues that were duplicates.
  • As a next step we reached out to Foursquare to partner on a brand page, which we use to connect with users through tips left at NYPL venues promoting programs, services and special events. Tip are seen by users who check in at your venue and if they follow your nonprofit on Foursquare they show up at the top of the list, which is of course where you want to be.
  • With the Centennial of the Library’s landmark Fifth Avenue building ahead, we also worked on a strong proposal for getting a badge promoting this anniversary. To earn the badge Foursquare users had to follow NYPL on the brand page that we set up and they had to check in at three different libraries or five times at the same library to unlock the badge. While working on the proposal we also felt that it would be cool to connect the virtual badge with a real-world reward. And so our Development department graciously offered Foursquare users who earned the badge the opportunity to sign up for a free one-year Foursquare Friends Membership worth $40. Foursquare recently changed the pricing for customized badges from $10,000 to $25,000 per month, ClickZ News has learned. Brands purchasing the badges have to sign up for a minimum of three months. A Foursquare spokesperson added in an email that "this fee is normally waived when we're working with non-profit organizations, such as the American Red Cross or the New York Public Library.”
  • In addition to the badge we also created a number of specials that were available at all venues and one that was only available at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. These included a ticket drawing among our over 90 mayors, a behind-the-scenes tour of our Map Division for mayors, and a photo-op in fornt of the Trustees Room fireplace, which was immortalizd in the movie The Day After Tomorrow. As you can see having fun with geo-location doesn’t need to cost a lot.
  • To promote the campaign, we created a comprehensive media plan using multiple channels, including email, social media, our Wifi splash page that is shown to over 50,000 constituents a month, plus flyers and door clings that were installed in all 90 locations. And even though the Centennial badge campaign is over now, we continue to promote Foursquare on a regular basis and continue to publish tips that we collect from Library staff.
  • During the Centennial weekend celebration, we also tested a Foursquare special to promote our retail shop. We achieved a conversion rate of 12%, which is a great result, and the average order value was 3x higher than the average order that day. This is in line with reports from other retailers, such as Radioshack, who report that Foursquare users spend more money than their average customer. Conversion rate: 12% Increase in average order value: 203% Radio Shack Says Foursquare Users Spend 3.5X More
  • Before we close, I wanted to quickly show how Foursquare is set up in the organization. During Phase I, which included setting up the brand page and the Centennial badge campaign the Marketing department controlled both the brand page and all Foursquare venues at the flagship level.
  • In Phase II, we want to transition to a scenario, which involves the individual branches or stakeholders who will be able to come up with their own creative specials locally, hopefully fostering more engagement on the community level.
  • I see we are running out of time. So, here are some key points to help you get started with geo-location. Listen and watch to find out where constituents or target audiences are and select the most popular platform. It’s better to build out one strong presence rather than spreading yourself too thin on multiple services. Use all your creative juices to come up with a unique way your organization can use aspects of geo-location. This one is an important one: Take control of your venues to make sure your brand is represented properly. As you have seen, NYPL also started small with a campaign at only one branch to test the waters and measure the response. Lastly, specials can go a long way as we have seen with the NYPL case study and you don’t necessarily need a brand page or a badge to be successful. If there is time, I’ll take a couple of questions.
  • Thanks for listening and have fun with geo-location.
  • Johannes Neuer:— Using Geo-Location Services to Promote Your Nonprofit

    1. 1. Using Geo-Location Services to Promote Your Nonprofit Johannes Neuer, eCommunications Manager The New York Public Library @nypl August 2011
    2. 2. The Rise of Smartphones
    3. 3. Anyone Checking In?
    4. 4. Where is Geo-Location Headed?
    5. 5. Who is Checking In?
    6. 6. What Are My Goals? <ul><li>Promote places, events, conferences, etc. to: </li></ul><ul><li>Drive visits </li></ul><ul><li>Foster loyalty </li></ul><ul><li>Connect and engage with users </li></ul><ul><li>Increase brand mentions </li></ul>
    7. 7. Which Service is Right for Me? <ul><li>Facebook Places </li></ul><ul><li>Foursquare </li></ul><ul><li>Google Latitude </li></ul><ul><li>Gowalla </li></ul><ul><li>Scvngr </li></ul><ul><li>Yelp </li></ul>
    8. 8. NYPL and Foursquare — First Trial <ul><li>March 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>NYPL’s first green library in </li></ul><ul><li>Manhattan opens </li></ul><ul><li>Loyalty special </li></ul><ul><li>Prize for first 25 check-ins </li></ul>
    9. 9. NYPL and Foursquare — Brand Page <ul><li>NYPL’s home on Foursquare </li></ul><ul><li>Connecting Foursquare users with NYPL tips </li></ul><ul><li>Promoting programs, services, and special initiatives </li></ul>
    10. 10. NYPL and Foursquare — Badge <ul><li>Special occasion: Centennial Celebration </li></ul><ul><li>Three check-ins </li></ul><ul><li>Available for a limited time </li></ul><ul><li>More than just a badge: Free Foursquare Friends membership </li></ul>
    11. 11. NYPL and Foursquare — Specials <ul><li>Monthly ticket drawings for mayors </li></ul><ul><li>Behind-the-scenes tours for mayors </li></ul><ul><li>Photo-op in front of the Library’s fireplace, as seen in The Day After Tomorrow </li></ul>
    12. 12. NYPL and Foursquare — Marketing <ul><li>Media plan </li></ul><ul><li>eCommunications and social media </li></ul><ul><li>Wi-Fi splash page </li></ul><ul><li>Door clings </li></ul><ul><li>Flyers </li></ul><ul><li>Staff newsletters </li></ul>
    13. 13. NYPL and Foursquare — Results <ul><li>30,000 Foursquare followers </li></ul><ul><li>14,000 check-ins </li></ul><ul><li>12,000 Centennial Badge unlocks </li></ul><ul><li>130 Foursquare Friends memberships </li></ul><ul><li>Press and online mentions </li></ul>
    14. 14. NYPL and Foursquare — Retail <ul><li>Promotional channels: </li></ul><ul><li>Flagship / Library Shop newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Facebook / Foursquare / Twitter </li></ul><ul><li> homepage </li></ul><ul><li>Signs in the Library </li></ul>Unlocks Redemptions 4sq Average Order Value 305 36 3x normal average
    15. 15. Foursquare Phase I — Overview 4sq Brand page 4sq Venues Flagship Tips and global specials
    16. 16. Foursquare Phase II — Overview 4sq Brand page 4sq Venues Flagship Tips and global specials Stakeholders Local specials
    17. 17. Takeaways <ul><li>Meet your constituents where they are </li></ul><ul><li>Be creative, unique, and make it fun </li></ul><ul><li>Take control of your venues / places </li></ul><ul><li>Start small </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on specials (you don’t need a brand page or badge to be successful) </li></ul>
    18. 18. Image by the.sprouts via Flickr @johannesneuer