Posts Tagged ‘Foursquare’

Lately in the social media world there has been a lot of talk about the geolocation, and rightly so. For those of you unaware, geolocation uses the GPS in your phone to determine where you are. From there, and depending on the app, you can check-in to the place you are and tell your friends. This sphere is getting to be so popular that Facebook has even announced an entrance into the geolocation arena.

Currently there are quite a few players vying for supremacy with clear, current leader. Foursquare is leading the pack even though it was not the first entrant and this is attributed to the game aspect that has been included. In this game you earn badges for completing tasks or can become “Mayor” of your favorite spot by checking-in more than anyone else. The rest of the pack includes BrightKite, Loopt, Gowalla and Whrrl, among others.

While Foursquare does currently have the lead I recently found a new service with loads of potential, SCVNGR. Remember having scavenger hunts as a kid? This has the same premise. SCVNGR runs off of points, you get a point just for checking in and then the real game comes into play. This past week I checked-in at a local Mexican restaurant for a meeting. Upon checking in I was then given the tasks to gain more points; Social Check-in (check-in with friends), Take a picture, Fear Factor (where you take a picture of your food in such a way that it looks like it should be on Fear Factor) and Say Something (those are all I remember).

So what is so good about this new service? This makes the game all the more interactive and all your non-tech minded friends can help you complete the tasks. The creators have also been hard at work speaking with various companies to get a rewards program off the ground. If that does not start your creative wheels turning how about a partnership with the Minnesota Vikings? What does this new service have in store? Growth. I have been watching it for quite some time and only recently jumped in the game with the acquisition of a new phone.

This is currently the only thing slowing growth, availability. For those with an iPhone or Android device I recommend jumping in. The great thing is that you can create a trek and anyone with SMS capability can join in, just not for the check-in service.

My conclusion after playing around with SCVNGR for the last little bit is that Foursquare may need to update a few things to keep their spot on top. The potential for this relatively new entrant is immense and with geolocation on the rise, as well as GPS-enabled phones sales rising, SCVNGR is in a good spot to grow, quickly.

Maybe what they should focus on is making an app available to those without smartphones to get them enthralled with the service so when they finally do go to the smartphones they are already engaged in SCVNGR and will not want to try the other services. Could this be the key to dominance for geolocation to really take off? Only time will tell.

Be formulating new strategy to incorporate these services, I know I am.

Let me know what you think. Have you tried SCVNGR or any of the other apps mentioned and if so what is your take? Or is geolocation more of a fad?

I realized today that I seem to have put off updating my blog for a little while now. I have been pretty busy as of late with a variety of projects but I figured it was time to take a break and share some knowledge. This post is dedicated to @WillDobbs as he gave me the idea to talk about what Arizona could do with social media to address some of the issues at hand with the infamous immigration bill known as SB 1070. There has been a lot of talk about the pros and cons about this law but since this is not a political blog I will not share my views on the this particular issue.

One of the reasons I decided to tackle this post is the fact that I loved living in the state. This has been quite the hot topic lately and not a good PR moment for the state. Is Arizona out of luck in the PR department? As long as they act to counteract the negative press right now and engage those who are already talking about immigration. Transparency is key in Marketing/PR. The first thing needed to avoid (or stop) a disaster is be open. In this instance there needs to be an open channel to the lawmakers. Why do voters like town halls? The transparency and the fact that they can get answers on the spot.

5 Social Media Tips to Potential Disaster Avoidance

1. Monitor your choice. What could be more important than knowing what is being said about the bill? From a PR standpoint, nothing. With that said, monitor the interwebs. I did a quick search on Google Blog Search, Technorati, and Twitter search twice and there are many opinion posts throughout each service. While it would be too daunting to try to control each and every site (and you should not try to control but direct the conversation), the Arizona lawmakers need to be voicing their concerns and opinions on this matter. Comment on the blogs and offer yourself for an interview. It will work in your favor.

2. Crowd Source. Online you will find those who are “brand” ambassadors. Promote them. Offer to be interviewed for their blog. Talk to the representatives from the other states that support your cause. Find those that are willing to help (This sounds like how the President was elected so you know it works). Join the Facebook pages that are for or against the bill… or even better, start your own to progress your specific platform for more exposure (it is an election year after all). Do you want to be really progressive? Start a Twitter Chat with your own custom hastag to have a discussion, you can live stream it as a town hall if need be.

3. Bookmark/Digg. If you want an educated populace, seek out those unbiased articles or blog posts that will give news. Unfortunately in politics that may not happen so try to find good posts that give both sides of the argument in a Delicious or Stumbleupon account. This gives instant access to information you want the voters to have. You can filter out the very biased/hateful posts that are bound to be found online. This can also backfire (on the strictly informational aspect) if your bookmarks are biased in nature.

4. Take a cue from Apple… just not with the iPhone 4 antenna issue. One thing I love about the Apple Fanpeople (being politically correct here) is the extent they go to for information on Apple. During WWDC there were many sites dedicated to a live blog of the event. Not everyone will be able to attend the hearings on SB 1070 so why not have reporters or even interns live blog the event. Any questions can be screened from the online sources and even presented at that hearings. Again, transparency. This is the online town hall format tweaked just a little.

5. Blog. Most politicians already have their own blog and with good reason. Be active on it. Blog often about what you are doing to further the cause of your choice. Post the occasional vlog to go along with your blog. People need to see your face to know that you are still around and active in the discussion. It does not hurt credibility either.

Use Satire. While this step may not contain social media, it will help. One could attend the taping of shows like The Daily Show or Colbert Report (make sure you have the facts set up and are confident in your convictions). Why? Well an interview with either of these gentlemen, while not easy, could possibly go viral. They each have a huge fan base and many more that would watch the clips online. For an easier time you could go on Fox News (if for the bill) or MSNBC. Any of these shows or stations would love to have an interview with any one of the lawmakers in the state of Arizona. (Only perform this step if you are very comfortable with your convictions being quasi-ridiculed)

Is it too late to come back from the PR black hole the state is sliding into? No, but action needs to be taken. It does not matter what your personal take is on the matter, with the outcry for and against this bill, action needs to be taken. Maybe it is because I am not currently in the state but the lack of communication I have seen is never good.

Bonus Step #6. Foursquare. Give each illegal immigrant a smart phone and have them check in to various government buildings. The badge they earn could be a badge of citizenship! Well maybe not….

Disclaimer: This is coming from outside the state of Arizona. These views are what I have seen in the media from another state. The actually reality of the situation is probably completely different.

What other ways could the state use social media to help either repair its image or show its strength? Let me know!

Quit your day jobIn my last post I spoke about who in an organization should take the reigns of the social media campaign. All the “consultants” (myself included) probably thought they were safe as they are able to do any and everything asked of them. Well truth is that the consultants are not safe.

Social media is a new beast for many companies and as such the need to hire outside help is strong. Not every company can find the right person with enough experience to tackle the set up of a social media campaign from scratch. What they need to look out for is the perception of the company when a third-party takes the reigns. I spoke about Sales/customer service being a huge part of your social media presence. Do you honestly want someone who does not know your products and has 3-5 other accounts to try to handle any complaints that come down the Social Media pipe? Would you not rather have fewer people handling a process? This is what happens when you outsource.

What was that? You say you cannot afford/justify another full-time worker on salary? What if you divided the responsibilities among those already in sales/marketing/pr. Better yet you could hire a part-timer (although Social Media is a 24/7 job) or another “Marketing Coordinator” to help the already stressed Marketing/PR department. Make social media the main requirement but give them other responsibilities to push them along the way.

Yes I understand that I just made myself and many of my friends irrelevant (although I am looking for a full-time gig *hint hint*) and I may take some flack for that but do not fret. No one reads this blog. Even if they did there are still ad agencies out there. This business model will not die with this one blog post. There will always be a need for true social media “consultants,” we just need to make ourselves indispensable. We also need to get rid of those who call themselves gurus, ninjas, rockstars or any other manner of title that does not mean anything. Just because you have a Twitter account and a laptop you are not an expert.

Do you think the consultants should go the way of the dinosaur? Do you want to rip me a new one for exposing the little secret we all know? Let me know in the comments!

Updated: Maybe we should see more “consultants” being hired for a month of two to get the social media up and running, along with the training of the key players. This way the company gets to see how it will be run and the “consultant” (I do like coach better) will not need to go away. This could be a better solution. Small businesses would not hire them full-time as it would not be needed. Would this be a better model than just going in and showing them how it is done?

OK so this may not come as a shock to you as almost everyone and their cat has written a post on their blog in regards to Social Media in an organization and where it fits, but I would like to think that this one will be a little different. I am going to include examples from a company I previously worked for that currently does not use Web 2.0 but more along the lines of a Web 1.5 strategy. Guess I should explain Web 1.5. I see Web 1.5 as when a company is on social media, or at least a few of the sites, and does not interact with the fans. HTC is a great example of that. You look on the wall and there are many people talking to HTC but no response. This is what people in the business call, bad social media marketing.

So to start with where social media fits in an organization you do have to look at the company. The one I worked for was a large private technical school. Currently they have a Facebook and Myspace page but that is as far as it goes (Yes MySpace still fits with their demographic). Unfortunately they only use these pages as a sounding board for whatever they are doing. Many fans/friends are trying to talk to them but to no avail. Is that effective? Not Web 2.0 effective. Why would you ignore people trying to get more information from you?

So most blog posts will tell you that marketing or PR should run the social media. I would say that there should be more than that. This company had all of your typical departments, Marketing, PR, Sales/Customer service, Internet and Event Marketing. Which department should handle Social Media? All of them.

Seems like I just tried to get off easy there, did it not? Well let me dive into that a little bit. Marketing and PR should have the reigns in the social media strategy. That is without debate. The great thing about social media is you can have more than one person or department on it at a time.

Take the event marketing team. What would be better than live tweeting at an event and sharing those pictures and videos with your fans as soon as you take them. Who knows the events better than the team that puts them on? Sales team needs to be on social media to help with any potential clients. Why would you want to talk to someone and then hand them off to the “next available representative” when you could work them through the process the whole way?

Really these are just a few options out there to a larger corporation and may not work for everyone. Oh and about the old saying of too many hands spoil the pot? That is what a defined social media strategy is all about. Everyone knows their place in the organization and social media should be no different.

Do you have any examples of a large company who segments their social media successfully? I want to see them!

So I have finally decided to prioritize my days. I always think more clearly when I go for a nice long drive so last night I decided to do just that. I figured I needed to find out when I felt I was the most successful and happy in my life and see what was going on at that point. I finally came to the conclusion and decided I needed to add more simplicity in my life.

While organizing my days may not seem simplistic it really can be. I came to the conclusion that I needed to better myself as well. What really came to mind was the fact that I currently am fluent in Spanish and I have always wanted to learn another language. I have now planned time in my day to work out and learn Italian. Today was my first day and it has been a great morning.

I started thinking about how this pertains to Marketing. Well the market is ever-changing and if you do not stay on top of the changing landscapes you will never progress. The great Ogilvy said that “Encourage innovation. Change is our lifeblood, stagnation our death knell.” This is true in anything we do but even more so in business and marketing. Think of the companies that have been slow to embrace change and how long they were on top when the changes came.

In Marketing we have a new platform in front of us, Social Media. While many companies are embracing certain aspects of this new media they do not embrace it well enough. Many marketers understand the need to be there but do not understand how to use it. Worse yet is they do not innovate while there. They are not organized and are not trying to better themselves and their company. It is time to change that.

What do you think can be done to show these companies how to better themselves and get organized in the Social Media realm? Shouldn’t they be studying these technologies for their personal benefit or is it just a passing fad?