Keepin’ You Hip (June): Location-based social networking

Keepin’ You Hip (June): Location-based social networking

This month’s topic: Location-based social networking!

Did you know that you could become the mayor of your favorite local Starbucks? Did you know that you could become the mayor of not only that Starbucks, but be the mayor of your favorite little Mexican restaurant you frequent every week with your friends? Yes, you can! It’s all made possible through a mobile application called Foursquare.

You may already be familiar with Foursquare. In fact, you may have racked-up several mayoral badges already. Foursquare is one of several location-based social networking mobile apps that let’s you check-in to places using your phone. Checking-in to places lets your friends, who are also using Foursquare, get updates on where you are. You can also write reviews about the places you check-in to and read other peoples’ reviews. The place you’re at isn’t on Foursquare?  Well then, add it, as Foursquare gives you that capability.

What does all this have to do with marketing? A lot. With the rising use of smart phones, people are turning to their mobile phones to do much more besides talk and text. With Foursquare, companies have the ability to offer their customers coupons and other special offers once they have checked in with their phone. For example: Check-in on Foursquare once you’ve arrived at your favorite Mexican restaurant and instantly receive a coupon on your phone from the restaurant for half-off a margarita. Another example: Become the mayor of your local Starbucks and get a free coffee. How do you become a mayor? By being the person who checks in to that location the most, and you can’t just check-in from anywhere, as Foursquare uses the GPS in your phone to confirm your location.

The goal for companies is to create loyal, repeat customers. The more customers check-in to a location, the more prizes and badges on Foursquare they can earn, and the more deals they could receive from the places they check-in to. It’s up to the companies to decide what sorts of deals they are willing to give away in order to attract the customers. Apps like Foursquare are another mobile marketing tool to consider for your marketing mix if they make sense to use to help achieve your company’s goals.

Other location-based apps include Gowalla and Loopt. See the articles below to learn more about these apps and how they are being put to use.

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