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EFM Morning Brew: Location Based Social Media and Geomarketing: What's All the Hype?


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Last week E Factor Media ( held another successful Morning Brew discussing Location Based Social Media (LBSM), a trend in social media that has impressed us in both growth and …

Last week E Factor Media ( held another successful Morning Brew discussing Location Based Social Media (LBSM), a trend in social media that has impressed us in both growth and opportunity for marketers. There have been many LBSM applications added to the social media landscape; however, we chose three that have big implications for marketers right now – Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. Here's an overview on where the applications are now and how they can be used in your marketing strategy.

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  • (The words in gray are all location based apps and websites and mush that’s available…) you to share your location with your friends, and keep a record of every place you’ve visitedBusinesses have access to their target audience’s location, enabling geography-based and time- specific marketing
  • Uses geolocation (geographic information) in creating awareness for a targeted audience (a single tactic) within the overall marketing strategy. It can be used in any aspect of the marketing mix – the product, price, promotion, or place (geo targeting). Businesses have access to their target audience’s location, enabling geography-based and time- specific marketing
  • Remember the WOM movement and individual’s life “hot spots” : When users check in, leave their thoughts, its shared across their social networks, therefore it is a future trigger for their friends and followers – “Oh yeah! My friend goes to [this place] for great sandwiches, I should try that too.”
  • **Yelp is an odd beast – unsure of check-ins at this time
  • Also use iPads and iTouch
  • Learn the Platformsyou need to understand how the technology works. Generally, people use lo-so apps on their phones to “check in” whenever they go places. Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) locatethe users and determine what “venue” they might be at, giving them options to select a location or create a new listing. These “check ins” allow their friends to know where they are now, or where they frequently go. Some services allow users to leave location-based tips for friends to discover later, and several involve social competitions, or the ability to unlock digital badges, stickers, and prizes. Businesses can announce specials or promotions through these apps, so when users “check in,” they receive notifications of nearby deals.Item one on your to-do list should be to become familiar with the prevailing platforms. Foursquare, Gowalla, Loopt, Brightkite(), and Google Latitude are the most talked about in general, though others exist, and popularity varies by geography (e.g. Foursquare reigns supreme in New York City, and Loopt has a lot of clout in Silicon Valley). Other platforms to be aware of include Yelp() and Facebook(), which are just now dabbling in lo-so. Sign up for all of these, and download the apps to your phone if you can, so you can become familiar with how someone would use each one. Most of the networks have iPhone(), Android(), and BlackBerry() apps, and all of them allow you to “check in” via desktop and mobile web browsers.2. Determine Your GoalsBefore you can optimize your business for lo-social networking, you need to step back and determine what you want to accomplish.Are you hoping to increase foot traffic to your store? Do you want to sell more of a particular item? Do you want more patrons at certain times of day? Do you want to promote a specific product? Are you looking for new customer acquisition? Repeat customers?You may say, “I want all of those,” but to be effective, you need to set specific objectives. These will determine your approach to the entire process. Luckily, if you need to change things around to fit new objectives in the future, the cost of doing so is very small.One goal that should be on every business’s list is to be easily findable on every network, which brings us to number three:3. Establish Your PresenceMake sure that your business is listed on each network. Then make sure the address, phone, and details are correct and current. Don’t assume that users have added everything correctly. On some networks, once a venue is there, it’s stuck. Others let you edit. Don’t be afraid to contact the network itself to ask them for help if you can’t fix your venue listing. Gowalla’s Jonathan Carroll says, “We receive dozens of e-mails a day from businesses around the world asking for additions or tweaks to their Gowalla locations, and we’re happy to help out with them.”It’s also a good idea to put up notices or stickers (on the door, order counter, or table centerpieces, for example) announcing “We’re on Foursquare” or “Find us on Yelp.” This will remind people to “check in” and spread the word about you.4. CustomizeDifferent networks have different options for customization, but it’s important that you do as much as you can to build out your listing. Add your website. Integrate with your other social networking accounts, like Twitter(). Features are constantly being added to each network, but great customizations you can try right now include the following:.5. Implement Compelling PromotionsLo-social networks allow you to run promos to increase engagement and get people into your store. Foursquare’s Tristan Walker says, “Any type of in-store promotion you can conceive we want to make it so Foursquare can run it.” Many businesses offer specials like “check in 10 times and get a free appetizer” on all the major lo-so networks. Establish well-conceived promotions based on your goals, then evaluate the results. The biggest mistake you can make is to do this sloppily or half-heartedly.Carroll cites Lift Cafe as a good example. “They offer 10% off every purchase when you check in on Gowalla, which they include in their description and also as a reminder in the success screen after check-in.”“[What] we’ve seen across all channels again and again is that what works is a good local offer,” says Loopt CEO Sam Altman. Businesses with offers that cater to people “making that gametime decision” when they’re out and about do the best. “Offer value to the customer so it doesn’t feel like an ad,” he advises.Shelley Bernstein, Chief of Technology for the Brooklyn Museum, talks about how the institution uses Foursquare to create a multi-faceted campaign and experience for museum goers.“We knew that many people coming here wanted to know more about the local neighborhood, which is something Foursquare does well. We asked our staff for their opinion of the best stuff in the neighborhood … and left tips at all these venues for Foursquare users to find. Second, we added a promo for our mayor to reward the people who are consistently identifying themselves with us. Third, Foursquare has given us a badge which unlocks after three visits, and this helps reward our community for coming in the doors.“All of these things together help create a total presence on the platform that works well for the Foursquare community, the Brooklyn Museum visitor, and the local merchants in our neighborhood.”“Common promotions across various networks include the following:Raffles (e.g. “Every person who checks in gets a chance to win an iPod.”) Specials for the user who checks in most often. This is a staple of Foursquare promos for a lot of venues (e.g. “Top user/mayor gets the first drink free every time he/she comes in.”) First check in specials (e.g. “Get 30% off your order when you check in for the first time.”) Digital punch cards (e.g. “Check in 5 times, get a free coffee.”)Tips for developing effective promotions:Advertise particular incentives, rather than your business in general (“20% off between 2 and 4pm;” “Buy one burger, get one free;” etc.). On platforms that allow you create your own banner ads (such as Loopt), include your address and opening hours in the ad itself, when possible. Be creative. For example, Incase, the bag and protective case maker, recently ran a promo with Gowalla to put virtual versions of its products into the app to be collected and traded. Carroll remarks, “The result has been phenomenal: Thousands upon thousands of their virtual items have been distributed in Gowalla to an audience who could benefit from their products, but many of whom had not previously heard of Incase.”6. Engage With Your CustomersIt would be a mistake to use Twitter as a one-way corporate megaphone, never interacting with your audience. That’s a quick route to an audience of zero. One of the most effective uses of social media is personal engagement and relationship building with your audience. The same goes for lo-so networks.7. Track EverythingFoursquare just released a slick analytics dashboard for venues to track their stats. Other networks have metrics you can view as well, and they’ll certainly be releasing better and better tools. From data you can study online to qualitative observations at your own store, it’s important to keep track of everything so you can learn what promotions work with your audience. Be aware, though, that your ROI may not be directly measurable, and aside from increased sales, you’re working for brand exposure and increased awareness of your business.8. Be Prepared to AdaptLocation-based social network technology may be the newest and grooviest incarnation of social media, but it certainly won’t be the last. And in a year it won’t look exactly like it does today. Be prepared to adapt your methods when features change, as new tools emerge, and as you review your own promotional results. Again, keep your objectives in mind, and be ready to keep up with new technology.9. Avoid Common PitfallsIn talking with representatives from the major lo-so networks, several common mistakes came up. Here are a few things you should try to avoid:Don’t leave fake reviews or tips. They’re easy to spot, and you’ll lose all on- and off-line credibility immediately when people catch on. Don’t throw up poorly designed ads. “A badly designed banner ad performs so much worse than … a good one,” Altman says. “It’s an insane difference.” Don’t forget to monitor activity. Carroll points out, “Chances are if someone has a gripe or praise with their check-in, it’s a real-time thing: The patron is probably still there … so the business has a chance to make the experience even better.”We’d love to hear about your own lo-so experiences. Let us know how location-based services have benefited your business in the comments!
  • We focused our energy on the top three
  • with your friends and social networks where you areSee where friends and others in your area are hanging outRead tips from previous visitorsRewardsEarn points every time you check inEarn Badges Example: Explorer Badge: Checking in at 25 different locations
  • for brick and mortar storefrontTalk about google analytics
  • a variety of customized foursquare Specials: Check-in Specials: unlocked when a user checks in to your venue a certain number of times. ("Foursquare says you've been here 10 times? That's a free drink for you!")Frequency-based Specials: are unlocked every X check-ins. ("Foursquare users get 20% off any entree every 5th check-in!")Wildcard Specials: always unlocked, but your staff has to verify some extra conditions before awarding the Special. ("Show us your foursquare Swarm badge and get a free drink!")And more to come!
  • Best mobile site at the 2010 SXSW Web Awards
  • Stamps: earn when you check-inPins: given for completing goals (10 Pubs = Pub Crawl Pin)Pins for trips: pinned when trips are completedItems: users can leave or pick up at locations
  • Huge, established user baseElite users (Established evangelist base)Reputation of being a reliable, online resource (11 million local reviews)May 2010 – June 2010: Yelp iPhone App had over 1.4 million visitors
  • badges (Sushi Sensei for 6 sushi restaurant check-ins)Got the most check-ins at a business?  You're the Duke, good sir (or Duchess, for the ladies)  Most Dukedoms in a 'hood? You're the Baron! Most Dukedoms in the city? You're the King!Friends opt-in to push-notify them when you check inMap with friends’ nearby check-ins
  • Just added on June 28thMobile Analytics include how many people used Yelp’s app to:View your businessCall your businessGet directions to your business“Check in" to your business
  • Difficult to customize promotions, so plan to use the tools they’ve createdThese are startups, so it’s tough for them to give world class serviceChallenge yourself to work with what you can. What can you do aside from a custom badge?Foursquare: to-do lists for users to explore around your area. Gowalla: Custom icon vs. generic one Shake Shack, NYC, Austin Java, Coop Ale Works.
  • to create a flash mob of 161 at your businessEarn Swarm Badge at your location (50+ 4sq peeps in one place)Create a Tweetup (via socially (Twitter followers were really into Foursquare)Trust the Foursquare Network
  • guy experienced his first Nets game thanks to the Gowalla promotion… he even got to meet Mini Sly!
  • may get tired of updatesIt’s a game… will people find new games to play?Marketers are tired of new “must have” SM outletsConsumer Awareness“Checking in” not a natural consumer mindset yetOnly 7 percent of Americans are aware of location-based social networks (via Edison Research)PrivacySome users understand consequences of real-time, location based informationExecutionIs there a way to manage check in rewards that is automated?
  • How interested/prepared are you to actively engage with your customers?How does geomarketing intersect with your greater marketing strategy?Is there any aspect of your business that is location-based?Are your customers smart phone users?Do you have the resources to develop and manage your campaign/s?
  • Only a handful of specials in downtown SDYour reasons for participating can be similar to the reasons that customers participate
  • Transcript

      Users share their location with friends, record places they visit, leave tips, earn rewards, and announce their interest in YOUR BRAND to the world.
      Aka-Aki, Belysio, Bliin, Blumapia, Blummi, Brightkite, Buddy Beacon, Buddycloud, BuddyMob, BuddyWay, buzzd, Carticipate, Centrl, CitySense, ComeTogethr, Dodgeball, Dopplr, Duzine, EagleTweet, FindbyClick, FindMe, Flaik,Footprint History, FourSquare, Foyaje, Fraced, Friend Mapper, Friends around me, Friends on Fire, GeoMe, GeoSpot, GeoUpdater, Glympse, Google Latitude, Gowalla, gpsME, Grindr, Groovr, GyPSii,ICloseby, iPling, Ipoki, IRL, Jentro, Junaio, LightPole, Limbo, Locaccino, Locatik, Locatrix, Locr, Locle, Loki, Loopt, MapMe, Map My Tracks, Match2Blue,MeetMoi, Meet Now Live, Microsoft Vine, Mizoon, Mobilaris, MobiLuck, Mologogo, Moximiti, My Adventures, MyGeoDiary, MyGeolog, Myrimis, myWingman, NAV2US, Now Here, Nulaz, Ovalpath, Plazes, Pocket Life, Pownce, Quiro, Qlique, Rally Up, Rummble, Shizzow, Skobbler, Skout, Sniff, Snikkr, Socialight, Sparrow, Spot Adventures, SpotJots, Stalqer, The Grid, Toai, Tonchidot, Toodalu, Tooio, TownKing TownQueen, Trackut, Trapster, Tripit, Troovy, Tweetsii, Twibble, Twinkle,Twittelator, Unype, VicinityMatch, Waze, weNear, WHERE™, Whereis Everyone , WhereYouGonnaBe, Whrrl, Zhiing, Zintin
      There are MANY in this space. We have focused on the three we felt are headed to the top. MyTown and Loopt are still big contenders. Also, this has been called many things – geo-loco, loco-social… we have no idea what will catch on, but we’ll use LBSM for now.
      Businesses provide real time, direct advertising to customers engaged in LBSM
    • 4. Check out our blog post: to learn more.
    • 5. DUKING IT OUT
      In just the last 6 months, LBSM users have doubled for the “big three”. Why isn’t Yelp here? Its LBSM features are too new, but with their following plus all the reviews it has available, we’re sure their check-in stats will be just as impressive.
      90% of customers identify word of mouth as the best, most reliable and trustworthy source of ideas and information about products and services
      45% look at 3rd party reviews with their phones when in stores
      43% Look for retailer coupons with their phone
      Since 2007, internet’s environment has changed from a “creating” landscape (blogging, content creation focused) to “chatting” (sharing, discussing through channels). LBSM continues with this trend.
    • 9. WHY CHECK IN?
      To non-explicitly brag about coolness and/or importance, based on where they eat, drink, work, and travel.
      Get free stuff
      Be found
    • 10. WHY WE LIKE IT
    • 11. LISTENING = GOOD
      Though most LBSM conversations are private, you CAN view what they’re saying about your business when they share it to Twitter --- listening is the first step in communicating.
      Young, trend-setting, with a lot of disposable income. Notice how they look like they have jobs and all are using smartphones?
      LBSM is the digital version of direct marketing, think CAMPAIGNS.
      In Vegas at the Miracle Mile Shops, the mayor is plastered on a digital billboard. Promote engagement in any which way you can. People like to interact.
    • 15. STEP BY STEP
      Learn the platforms
      Determine your goals
      Establish your presence
      Implement promotions
      Engage with customers
      Visit for more details. But use this method before you take on ANY online marketing campaign – in LBSM or otherwise.
    • 16. GOALS
      Increase foot traffic to a physical location
      Promote/Sell more of a particular item
      Acquire new customers
      Increase repeat customers
      These are some goals you may have for your LBSM campaign, your goals may be different – just make sure you know what your goals are!
    • 17. There are hundreds of location based social media applications, these are the three that we feel hold the most opportunity for marketers today.
    • 18. FOURSQUARE
    • 19. HOW IT WORKS
      • Share location with friends and social networks
      • 20. See where friends and others in your area are hanging out
      • 21. Read & leave tips
      • Earn Points and Badges
      Foursquare has earned the top spot in marketing buzz so far, and the user base has exploded in recent months.
    • 22. ANALYTICS
      Recent visitors
      Frequent visitors
      Time of day people check in
      Unique visitors
      Check-ins per day
      Gender breakdown
      Check-ins broadcast to Twitter and Facebook
      …more coming soon!
      Sign up to manage your business on Foursquare, and these will be available to you for free.
    • 23. SPECIALS
      Check-in: Foursquare says you've been here 10 times. Free drink for you! Get 30% off the first time you check-in!
      Wildcard: Show us your Foursquare Swarm badge and get a free drink!
      Raffles: Checks in for a chance to win an iPad
      Digital punch cards: Check in 5 times, get a free coffee
      Get creative! Foursquare users are proud to show off their accomplishments, and happy to get something in return.
    • 24. GOWALLA
    • 25. HOW IT WORKS
      • Share where you are with your social networks
      • 26. See where friends and others in your area are hanging out
      • 27. Read/leave tips & photos
      • 28. Passport records check-ins and rewards
      Gowalla is targeting more of the travel and event sector than the other LBSM apps.
    • 29. EARN. COMPETE.
      Stamps: Checking-in
      Pins: Completing goals
      Trip Pins: Completing trips
      Items: Leave or pick up
      All of the branded stamps and buttons require a strategic partnership with Gowalla. It takes a bit of luck to connect and partner with Gowalla, but if you have a value proposition for them, they may take your call .
    • 30. YELP
      Combined review/reputation management site with LBSM
      Has a business model
      Huge, established user base with Elite users
      With 11 million local reviews and iPhone app use of 1.4 million visitors in just one month (May 2010-June 2010), Yelp has what the rest don’t – a great reputation and established user base.
    • 32. YELP AS LBSM
      Earn badges
      Yelp Royalty
      Friends opt-in to push-notify them when you check in
      Map with friends’ check-ins
      This is VERY new – there are not many stats of how many Yelpers have caught on to this new feature. However, if it does catch on as fast as the others, Foursquare and Gowalla should be nervous.
    • 33. ANALYTICS
      How many people used Yelp’s app to:
      • View your business
      • 34. Call your business
      • 35. Get directions to your business
      • 36. “Check in" to your business
      These analytics are powerful in understanding your ROI in this market. Analyze and adapt to see what tactics best fit your company.
      Difficult to customize promotions
      Working with Startups (resources are stretched)
      Challenge yourself to work within their sysems
      This is the ugly truth and we hope this will change in the near future. But don’t get discouraged – work with what you have access to – it will pay off!
    • 38. CASE STUDIES
      AJ Bombers & Jimmy Choo
      The Nets
      Too new to find any
      The Foursquare case studies can be applied to any business. The Gowalla case study requires strategic partnership with Gowalla. If you have a Yelp case study (with LBSM), tell us about it! Twitter @efactormedia.
    • 39. FOURSQUARE
      The following case studies did not need a Foursquare partnership to complete (no special branding here). These are all great examples of getting creative with LBSM and reaping the rewards. Remember to use your other established social media channels!
      “Earn Swarm Badge at AJ Bombers!”
      Create a Tweetup
      Promote socially
      Trust the Foursquare Network
    • 41. RESULTS
      • 161 Enthusiastic Customers
      • 42. Great PR
      Plus that’s 161 customers who ate, drank, and shared their experience through their network. If each had at least 100 friends and followers, that’s 16,100 possible people who heard about a fantastic experience at AJ bombers that evening.
    • 43. JIMMY CHOO
      Catch a Choo!
      • Representative announces location via Twitter, Facebook, and Foursquare
      • 44. She must be found with the trainers to win
      • 45. Approach her and say, “I’ve Been Following You.” to win (must be first)
      Jimmy Choo used all of their active social media channels to promote Catch a Choo. Over an 8 week period, people were hunting her down until the very end.
    • 46. RESULTS
      • 4000 participants
      • 47. Heart warming twist
      Jimmy Choo was able to promote their new trainers across all their socials channels in an engaging, fun way. The winner actually gave her trainers to a friend with cancer as a pick-me-up.
    • 48. GOWALLA
    • 49. THE NETS SUCK
      Broke NBA record for most losses and had lowest attendance in NBA in 2010
      Targeted 75 mile radius – NY and NJ sports bars, parks, and gyms
      Distributed 250 pair of virtual tickets
      At the game winners directed to Gowalla booth
      Obviously, the Nets partnered with Gowalla for this one. They created branded virtual Nets items, and dropped them in strategic locations which could only be found if you are a Gowalla user.
      500 tickets distributed / 76 used (15.2% attended)
      Positive brand sentiment - 89.5% of winners shared experience in their social networks
      Profits in sales of concessions, merchandise, and parking
      These results are comparable to a decent email blast or banner ad click-through rate.
      Remember, these are tech savvy smart phone users! They shared their Nets experience across all of their social media channels.
      Mayor, Badges
      Stamps, Pins, Items
      Royalty, Badges
      As you can see, earning rewards is the big pull for LBSMs.
      All of the above LBSMs broadcast check-ins (with a link to the location except Yelp links to the review) to Facebook and Twitter.
    • 54. LBSM & APIs
      With APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) developers can:
      • Build applications with LBSM data
      • 55. Pull data into your site
      Share information with those who don’t use LBSMs by adding the open API data to your website. Visit the Brooklyn Museum example at:
      Fatigue: are consumers tired of the social media hype (it’s just one more “thing”)?
      Privacy issues with people knowing where you are all the time
      Businesses need to remember to teach everyone from managers and staff of the promotion(s) and to promote to their customers
      Awareness of what these applications are and how to use them, habit of “checking in”
      Are you currently engaged in Social Media?
      Have you defined a Marketing Strategy?
      Is your customer base smartphone users?
      Are you location-based? (Event or Storefront)
      Do you have the resources to succeed?
      Capture users before your competition does
      Attract tech-savvy, social customers with disposable income who like to talk about brands