Rethinking Location-Based Social Media

Last year, I wrote a post for my company’s blog on location-based social media (LBS), titled “Why Foursquare doesn’t work for me (but may for you).” I laid out my reasons for me not using LBS by saying:

I’ve seen enough and I’m not going to take it any more (I had to channel my inner Howard Beale from “Network” there). Sorry folks, I’m not a fan of Foursquare.  Yes, it has become all the rage with people tweeting that “I’m at Starbucks” or “I just became the mayor of Starbucks at 123 Main St.” I haven’t seen the real value yet, personally.

Well, after a year, my mind has been changed. There is TREMENDOUS value in using Foursquare, Gowalla, or the newer LBS platforms. Aside from the obvious mayorship when you check into a Starbucks (or any other business), it can be of great use to PR/marketing folks.  We can see what stores our customers are visiting, what they are buying, and when they are buying it.

I recently re-added the Foursquare app to my BlackBerry and started checking in at work, the food store, Starbucks, and even a Buffalo Sabres hockey game.  I realize that there are plenty of you that are using LBS already, but those who aren’t, here are five tips to get you checking in.

1) Pick one, then try another- I like Foursquare, but I’m eager to try Gowalla and Bizzy. It doesn’t hurt to do a little test driving.

2) Check with your friends- There is bound to be a fellow pro or friend that uses on of the LBS’. Ask them what they like or dislike about it.

3) Lay low- You don’t have to let everyone know that you are having lunch at Chipotle. Give yourself some time to get use to checking in by not putting your travels on Twitter and Facebook.  You can always add it when you are ready.

4) Check out the special offers- When you check in to certain places, you’ll see a tab on Foursquare that informs you of deals in the area.  Don’t be afraid to see if it’s something that you like!

5) Give it a chance- I blew LBS off last year, but came back.  Don’t be a quick to be like me in this regard. Give yourself some time.  Then if you don’t like it, stop checking in.

What location-based social apps do you use and like? How have the changed the way you shop, eat, and live? Let me know in the comments!

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About JasMollica

"It's never too late to have a life and it's never too late to change one." That's something I tell students, friends, and family all the time. After living and working in New York City, I took my own advice in 2004, switched my career from the television/radio industry and got into public relations. Now, I spend my days as a PR/social media marketing consultant and get inspired daily. It's been a good ride, so far. But the car has plenty of gas left. I hope you'll join along in this guy's journey!

Posted on March 31, 2011, in Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Michael Ogden (@grabbingtoast)

    I’m a LBS blower-offer as well…still searching for the value for me and clients. But now, you’ve caused me to give it another try – and I will dammit! It’s on my to-do list today. Thanks for the post!

    • Thanks Michael!

      All in all, I figured it was time to stop denying what others are having success with on a daily basis. If I’m a fan of social media, I can’t blow off on of its very key components.

  2. I understand the value to PR and marketing people, but as a former dedicated Foursquare user, I woke up one day and thought ‘what am I really getting out of this?’ Yes, I was providing valuable data for those organizations that I checked in to, but other than an occasional ‘Nearby deal’ that was relevant (maybe once in a year), it really just felt like a gigantic time-waster.

    I’d love to hear what other people have found to be the value in using LBS not as a professional, but as the everyday person on the street.

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