Foursquare

SoCon12, coming up!!

Have you ever attended one of the SoCon events? The next one is coming up on February 3rd and 4th. From a networking party at SweetWater Brewing Company to an all day conference at KSU, there is something for everyone! I find that it’s a great way to stay on top of the constantly changing landscape of social media. It’s also great for networking.

Check out the break out sessions. How will I ever choose???

10:30 – 11:30am Break out session #1
Sessions:
• Always On: Will Traditional Computers Survive the Mobile Revolution
• Augmented Reality
• Lessons in Video PR
• Socializing Local Store Marketing (LSM)
• The Future is Now: Social TV and What Consumers Want
• The Great Unfollow Experiment
• The War On Stupid
• Educating (Dr.) Rita
• Social Service: Cultivating Responsible Fans
• The Value of Incorporating SEO-friendly Content into Web content

1:15 – 2:15 pm Break out session #2
Sessions:
• Be a Big Fish in a Small Pond: Growing Your Venture Overseas
• Connecting Georgia Greens – Real World Examples
• Creating and Leveraging Sustainable Social Media Communities
• Crowd Financing 101
• The Creative (not creepy) Use of Social Media Analytics
• Social Media for Advocacy: Using Next Generation Tools to Spread Awareness and Influence Policy
• Quit the Daily Grind: A Former Newspaper Reporter’s Social-Media Journey to Freelance Success
• The Social Journey
• Designing for the Mobile Age

2:30 – 3:30pm Break out session #3
Sessions:
• Create, Connect, Collaborate: Words that work online
• The Intersection of Social Media and Communicating Sustainability
• The World Has Gone Mobile: Use Your Basic Web Skills to Build iPhone and Android Apps
• Why Time Consuming Blogging, Twitter and Facebook Strategies May NOT Work for Your Business: Consider These Alternative Social Media Strategies
• Mine! No, Mine! : Who Owns Social Media?
• Would You Like A Badge With That? Event Organizing In A 2.0 World
• Building Web-Based Augmented Reality Experience
• She Said, He Said
• Crowdsourcing content: The social consumer as a source for content and dialogue
• Social Media Mistakes and how to handle them (Dealing with Online Reputation Management)

If you would like to  join us, use discount code “CSJ15” by January 20th and get 15% off SoCon12’s already low price. Seriously…it’s a steal!!

Here is a link to their Facebook Event and for my twitter peeps, the hashtag is #SoCon12. Hope to see you there!!

Twenty Two Point Seven

According to Nielsen, people cut down 28% of their emailing and about 15% of their text messaging online between June of 2009 and June of 2010. Interesting, eh? But let’s think about this…WHY did this happen? It’s not like it became harder to do or more expensive, right?

In that same span of time, social media usage went up 43%, which means that in June 2010, Americans spent 22.7% of their online time on social media.

22.7%

This makes sense if you think about it. Emailing and texting are active ways to receive information. You have to actually get involved in the process of getting or receiving information. But social media allows the consumer to have information pushed to her. Let’s say you’re on Facebook, busy stalking your exboyfriend, racking up squirrels to throw at your neighbor on farmville, etc., and your favorite brand announces a sale. They sent you an email, but it will be a few hours before you get around to checking that out. In fact, it might not even happen for a day or two. And even then, your spam filter might have snagged it and you won’t see it until you finally get around to cleaning out your junk email drawer, which if you’re anything like me, might take a year or three.

But if your favorite brand also posts the information on its Facebook page, the sale information is pushed to you. While you’re already online. Where you can actually do something (like, oh, I don’t know…make a purchase or something).

No more email for Ben and Jerry, it is all about the social media.

Something like ice cream maybe; this trend is so compelling that super brand Ben and Jerry’s did away with email marketing altogether. That’s pretty amazing. They are focusing instead on social media and smart phone applications. That’s how their fan base (read: consumers) prefer to receive and respond to information about Chunky Monkey.

So, what does this mean for your brand? Hopefully you’re already utilizing social media. But showing up is only the first step. Social media is not the same as email. It’s not about talking. It’s about listening and then responding…you know, a conversation. A real one. We all know “those” people at a cocktail party. The only time they shut up is to either take a slug of wine or to fidget as they wait for you to stop talking so that they can continue on talking about their own agenda. Unfortunately brands do that, too. Nobody wants to be THAT guy. Bad breath. Stain on tie. Ginormous piece of pepper stuck between his teeth. Blabbing on and on about who-gives-a-crap.

So here are a few tips:

  1. Remember that it’s a conversation. A two-way street. Listen, then respond.
  2. Be authentic. No faking the funk, folks. If you (or your company) made a mistake, own it and move on.
  3. Be consistent. Surprisingly, this is the one many companies seem to have trouble with. Conversations don’t work very well when dragged out over several days. People move on quickly these days…you need to monitor your social media so that you can engage your consumers. Otherwise it’s kind of like having a customer walk into your retail space during business hours but nobody on your team is there to say “How may I help you?”.

What do you think about this trend? Any predictions what June of 2011 will look like??

Top 10 Sectors by Share of U.S. Internet Time
RANK Category Share of Time
June 2010
Share of Time
June 2009
% Change in
Share of Time
1 Social Networks 22.7% 15.8% 43%
2 Online Games 10.2% 9.3% 10%
3 E-mail 8.3% 11.5% -28%
4 Portals 4.4% 5.5% -19%
5 Instant Messaging 4.0% 4.7% -15%
6 Videos/Movies** 3.9% 3.5% 12%
7 Search 3.5% 3.4% 1%
8 Software Manufacturers 3.3% 3.3% 0%
9 Multi-category Entertainment 2.8% 3.0% -7%
10 Classifieds/Auctions 2.7% 2.7% -2%
Other* 34.3% 37.3% -8%
Source:Nielsen NetView – June 2009-June 2010
*Other refers to 74 remaining online categories visited from PC/laptops
**NetView’s Videos/Movies category refers to time spent on video-specific (e.g., YouTube, Bing Videos, Hulu) and movie-related websites (e.g., IMDB, MSN Movies and Netflix) only. It is not a measure of video streaming or inclusive of video streaming on non-video-specific or movie-specific websites (e.g., streamed video on sports or news sites).

The Writing on the Wall

What if there was a wall in every store, restaurant and café where previous visitors could write helpful advice regarding their previous visits?

Take, for example, Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta that I happen to know is the shizzle. On this pretend wall, the following people will have left these comments:

On March 14, 2010, David T said, “Taco De Carne Asada…mmmmmm.”

On February 18, 2010, Rob M. said, “The ‘ritas and queso is excelenté. Great for drinks and dinner after work.”

On February 13, 2010, Sean P. said, “Be prepared for a wait no matter when you come on the weekends. Got here at 5:15 on a Saturday night and still waited for 30 minutes.”

January 24, 2010, Jonathan S said, “Brisket Tacos are amazing!!”

January 10, 2010, Christien L. said, “Lobster Tacos = Da Bomb!”

And way back in November, the ever resourceful Angela M. said, “For the Friday wait – bring tailgate chairs, and take your margaritas outside while you’re waiting for your table.”

Imagine how completely helpful all of this is. We now know that there will likely be a wait, even if we go early, so we can set the expectations of those in our party. We also know that we will be the envy of all of the people milling around the parking lot if we bring our tailgate chairs. Further, we already know what we want to order when we get there…definitely a rita, and we’re currently on the fence between the Brisket Tacos and the Lobster Tacos.

Guess what, folks? There is already a service that provides this. It’s called Foursquare. And you need to just go ahead and sign up. I know, I know. You don’t want to. You still don’t really “get” Twitter…and are hesitant to sign up for a user name on yet another social site that you don’t use.

But Foursquare is different. Think about it like interactive yellow pages. But it doesn’t only give you the telephone number…it tells you what’s good, what’s great, etc. So basically it is like a yellow pages, only used for more than just boosting a kid on a seat at Thanksgiving.

Now, if you have a business, you should definitely consider embracing Foursquare. After all, it will drive people to your doorsteps. Foursquare allows business to list specials to attract and/or reward visits. PLUS, your visitors will compete to become the Mayor of your establishment. (The Mayor is simply the person who goes to your joint most often.)

The other thing that’s pretty cool is the ability to run a special on Foursquare that is offered to people who are nearby. Imagine that you own a bar, restaurant or store and that you can advertise your specials, etc., to people who are already out and walking around in your general area. That’s pretty powerful stuff.

Now, there is a downside to Foursquare that can be really be boiled down to one word: Geolocation. There could be some serious repercussions to announcing on the internet where, exactly, you happen to be standing at this moment. Foursquare is a stalkers nirvana and it’s probably just a matter of time before something bad happens to someone who used it.

But just because a few bad eggs use it for something nefarious doesn’t diminish the possibilities for both the consumer and the business owner. Individual account holders will need to be mindful of their security settings and use some good old fashioned common sense when using Foursquare or anything similar…and then hold onto their hats because the writing is on the wall – this is the wave of the future.