Where are you now?

A couple of weeks ago I went along to another CIPR Social Summer session in Russell Square. This time it was Drew Benvie, MD of Hotwire PR, talking about location-based social networks for PR – Facebook Places and Foursquare to the man on the street. Since the talk, Facebook announced that it’s killing Facebook Places but nonetheless, here’s a short write up of the talk. The points below answer the question: what opportunities do location based services offer?

1.    For your consumer
These services allow you to create brand advocates. ‘Specials’ (providing discounts when people check-in to your shop or restaurant) provide a discount and encourage your consumers to come back. It’s all about building loyalty. For example, Hummus Bros on Cheapside has a special right now that the Mayor (the person who has checked in the most) can ‘share the wealth with 2-for-1 on main courses for you & a friend’.

2.    For the passer-by
Foursquare and Facebook Places attract people who weren’t even thinking of stopping at your shop. Drew spoke about how these services attract people who ‘would not dream of visiting’, but do so because there’s something on offer. Another example – Karen Millen in One New Change over the road is currently offering ‘15% OFF all full price items when you check-in’. I wasn’t thinking of going in, but maybe I will now so I can get a discount.

3.    Cut through the noise
This one is a bit more difficult to achieve, but say a ‘mainstream’ media source picks up that you have been using location-based services well. This generates coverage and in turn creates a ‘halo effect’ for your brand from the use of Foursquare and Facebook Places.

No matter how you might personally feel towards checking in, it is the future and we’re armed with the knowledge to work with our clients to introduce the importance of campaigns based around new technology. What I find interesting is the notion that you’ll see someone who has checked in nearby and may possibly message them to meet up. What if you wouldn’t otherwise meet them? Not only are location based services changing business, but they are also changing our social lives…

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