Social Media 2010: The Year of Location

Social Media

Photo credit: AslanMedia / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Happy New Year!

This year will be dominated by one theme:  Location-based social networking companies.  These companies allow consumers to check into physical locations and earn points, discounts, and show where nearby contacts are.  Some of these companies such as FourSquare and Gowalla started gaining traction in the last quarter of 2009 and will pick up major speed on the path to monetization this year.

Picture yourself walking into Target because you blew a fuse on your hairdryer.  Upon entering, a location-based social network registers that you’re in the store and offers you a discount on your cell phone.  Even further, it tells you that your best friends Ben and Jerry are down the road having coffee.  What started as a mundane errand has been transformed into a more fulfilling outing.

The Green Buzz Agency Blog provides insight for Marketing Decision Makers and other fun people :)  If you have insight on Marketing to share with our audience, contact us about being a Guest GBA Blogger. Or learn more about GBA and our video production prowess!

Retail and local companies no longer need to be threatened by the digital world.  There is value by partnering with online technologies that capitalize on location.  Location-based social networks have the ability to put brick and mortar stores back into the online/bricks and mortar competition.

 

 

Some Location All Stars

Foursquare | 1.35M in funding | Launched in 2009*

FourSquare allows you to check into location, earn badges and discounts, and stay in contact with your friends near you.

Gowalla | 10.3M in funding | Launched in 2009*

Much like the other location-based social networking game, FourSquare, Gowalla allows you to check into locations and earn points.

*Via TechCrunch’s CrunchBase

Reasons to Leverage Location

 

  1. Immediacy. Location inherently breeds immediacy and action.  If a consumer is at a location, close to a location, or close to a contact, they’re more likely to purchase (if they’re there), travel to purchase (if they’re close), or meet up to share (close to a contact).  Immediacy enables actionable behavior, and actionable behavior is valuable because it provides measureable results.
  2. Measurable results. Using location and proximity to measure effects is easier than measuring what happens when eyeballs read a tweet.   Retailers can use the location-based technologies to further understand their consumers.  When consumers check into a location, data such as when consumers visit, how often they visit, and their behavior before and after they visit becomes valuable.  With added incentives from brick and mortar stores partnering with these technologies, it is valuable through the information they can receive.
  3. Laser pointer theory. Think of the world as your company’s target – with no map, you’ll fire all over the globe and hit a fraction of your targets.  This happens in business too- intentional or unintentional displaced messaging is the result of mis-firing and ill-placement.  With location, companies can laser pinpoint and succeed.  Misguided marketing and advertising no longer need to be the standard.  Marketing and advertising are sometimes described as an art.  In 2010, they become a science.

 

How to Leverage Location

The convergence of location-based digital companies and brick and mortar physical stores are breeding a new type of commerce – digital mortar.   Surely different business models will yield different ways to capitalize on it and you can approach it from any angle.  But the main outcome should always be deeper connections with your consumers and increased value from your company.

 

Is your company going to hop on the location bandwagon?  I sure hope so.  It’s going somewhere.  Cheers to a new year of new places.

 

 

Sarah Merion is a senior at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.  In February she departs for Buenos Aires, Argentina where she’ll study, travel, and learn about the digital culture in South America.  To read more about business innovation and digital anthropology, visit SarahMerion.com or connect with her on Twitter: @sarahmerion.

7 Responses so far.

  1. Now its a matter of seeing which one sticks, history shows one will trump the other in terms of usage. Agree on the benefits of these though.

  2. Sarah Merion says:

    In my humble opinion, FourSquare will prevail. But, we shall see where 2010 takes us. On a wild ride, I hope.
    .-= Sarah Merion´s last blog ..Advertising As Supplemental Content =-.

  3. Charlie says:

    This is obviously the trend of the future, but you’re definitely missing out on some rising stars in the market.

    For example, I’ve just been coerced to sign up to ‘Rummble’ via a friend and am loving it!

    It is offering something that no other LBS on the scene has yet in terms of personalisation. I was amazed to see that by just creating one ‘Rummble’ they figured out what type of places I’d like to go to and gave me easy 1-2-3 directions on my iPhone (not sure about their other mobile integrations, though).. talk about utility in action!

  4. Sarah Merion says:

    Awesome Charlie – thanks for bringing Rummble to my attention! See, this is a HUGE trend and I know there are many other noteworthy LBS companies. Just a matter of bringing them to light.
    .-= Sarah Merion´s last blog ..Advertising As Supplemental Content =-.

  5. Ed Prentice says:

    No question location will be king, but it does not need to have all the realtime noise that these apps generate. I am developing some location-based game apps which offer a different dynamic. I have noticed my Facebook feed is getting spammed with too much of this location superfluous data. This needs to evolve with more control about how/when it may be displayed and how I access such info about others. Just as people were concerned with Twitter posting every meal your friends eat, we don’t need to know every stop each of our friends are making. This will only result in being blocked from what otherwise is a useful feed. Sometimes we need to be careful what we ask for.
    .-= Ed Prentice´s last blog ..AT&T Phone Home (or Find Your CRM System) =-.

  6. Sarah Merion says:

    I can see the value, Ed in the games you’re creating. The “when” is certainly an important factor in the location-based trend and even more prominent of an issue when we look at the mobile movement. Further, perhaps even more relevant than “where” is the “when” because after all, timing is everything. I’m very interested to see what types of apps you develop and how they’ll change the location game.
    .-= Sarah Merion´s last blog ..Advertising As Supplemental Content =-.

  7. […] Let’s start all over. In layman’s terms: Foursquare is a combination social network-gps locator-game that encourages one to “check-in” and leave “tips” when one is out and about. So let’s […]

Leave a Reply


CommentLuv badge