Check it, then Check-In!

Check it, then Check-In!

I don’t know if you have noticed this, but throughout 2010 there was a steady rise in location based applications appearing in social circles. The first time I heard about FourSquare was through a friend who had checked-in to a cafe near her work place and it appeared in my news feed on Facebook. Not once, but almost daily. “What in the world is FourSquare?” I thought. I posted the question to her and she told me about it but I wasn’t sold on the idea. Do I really want everyone to know where I am eating? What if someone else has been there before and doesn’t rate highly of it, and now thinks that I’m a complete idiot for lunching there?

As it happens (much to my luck of course!) FourSquare picked up – so much that Facebook decided to create their own Places – and had actually already been around for a long time (since March 2009). What I didn’t know back then was that location based searches were on the rise thanks to Google. This instantly threw businesses into the mix, and along with that it catered to the competitive nature of humans.

Along with our competitive nature, there are a few other reasons as to why we check-in to locations and businesses: serendipity, competitive/gaming, personal diary, sharing experiences, obtaining bargains, and voyeurism.

Serendipity – How often do you want to be the first to notice something? Be a pioneer? How GOOD does it feel to be the first person to notice a new eatery? Or a new bar that has just opened up? And to discover it by chance TOO! Of course you’d want to be the first person to post about it and there is no better way to do it than through a location based application.

Competitive/gaming – Once you have shown this new business to the world, you want to be the king or queen of that place amongst your friends. However applications like FourSquare have tapped into our competitive nature and made it possible for others to knock you off the throne. How? You have to be highest visiting patron of that establishment, and once that happens, you become the mayor. Being the mayor of a business could entitle you to free coffees, food, toys – whatever happens to be the purpose of that business that you frequent (could you imagine being given free toys for venturing to Toys’R’Us all the time!)

Personal diary – if you are venturing out into a new city and discover a bar or restaurant that you really like, using a location based apps could help you remember where it is for next time, or even as a suggestion tool to your friends. How often have you stumbled into a cocktail bar only to wish that you remembered where it was exactly, or what it was called so you could even find out how to get there again? I know I have, and location based apps is a sure way to help you remember these places.

Sharing experiences – these tie into serendipity wherein we tend to gloat and share about our experiences, albeit in this case it is finding a new business and/or establishment.

Obtaining bargains – this ties into the above under competitive/gaming because being at the top of a location can yield bargains. In addition to this, businesses can create incentives for individuals to spend big, or just increase the sheer volume of visits.

Voyeurism – another feature of human behaviour is that we always want to know what other people are doing. These location based apps generally have a listing of people that have visited the same business/location, and thus it would be possible for you to find out which of your friends are trying to kick you off your throne!

So how can your business benefit from all of this? From the above 4 (only 4 because sharing experiences and obtaining bargains relate to serendipity and obtaining bargains respectively) items, you can only exploit 2:

1) Serendipity/pioneering – you will need to ensure that your business is found and is worth mentioning. Are your products and/or services outstanding? And has it already been listed on the myriad of location based apps? By ensuring that you have the above covered to the best of your ability, you increase your chances of having your business noticed. Using location based apps and Social Media to attract attention was never so easy! You just have to run your business (run it well of course!)

2) Competitive/gaming – most people will engage in a friendly game if they can benefit from it without having to spend ‘extra’. If your game involves getting a free coffee mug, or lunch, and they can participate while going about their daily activities such as eating and/or drinking, then why wouldn’t they? Is the extra turn over from frequented visits worth you offering a free meal for 2 at the end of each week? Remember that your competition may only be won by 1 person, but the number of people competing for that one prize can increase your turn over volume by a few fold.

The other 2 (personal diary and voyeurism) are aspects of each individual that you can’t control – you can’t make someone diarise that they have visited your shop, nor can you force one person to take a peek into another person’s life.

With all of the above in mind, how has your business taken up the location based app phenomenon? In August 2010 Facebook also launched Facebook Places, which instantly saw their millions of users check-in to places and locations that could be seen on users news feeds – there is even a feature to check someone else in your friends list to the same place! Checking-in also provides a means of instantaneously letting everyone know what you are doing and where you are located. Could this be of benefit to your business?

Imagine a rainy Saturday night where the town is not as buzzing as it usually should be, but someone has just checked-in to your business rating it as the top place to be on a rainy night because you are providing some form of entertainment that can’t be found anywhere else. Going by the hunch that this someone has a few friends who happen to see that post, your crowd of 3 could multiply by dozens!

If you want to learn more about Social Media Marketing, E-Web Marketing can show you exactly what you need to drive more traffic and leads to your website.  Your consumers are your clients – and at E-Web Marketing your clients are effectively who we want to be looking after.

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