“What should we be doing on social media?”
“Which social media platform works best?”
Are you getting these questions, too? As PR professionals, we are looked to as experts by our clients, but, who has time to keep up with all the changes in social media these days?
At a recent professional organization meeting, I suggested we do a program on location-based social media sites, like Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp, Loopt, and GoogleBuzz, and was met with dead stares. I quickly educated the committee, but still they were not sure if we should present on this developing trend just yet. They, however, agreed we should help educate members on emerging PR social media tools. A good place to start is Peter Wylie’s post on the Social Media Examiner, 5 Emerging Social Media Sites to Watch in 2010. This list of the most useful social media and PR blog posts – so far this year – is another good resource.
But what about location-based social media? How can PR and marketing professionals benefit from this type of social network? Luckily, I had the opportunity to also give a presentation to several members of Cultural Tourism D.C. Because the attendees’ organizations rely on tourism, we were able to dissect some of the location-based social media now available.
As previously mentioned on Fresh Ideas, GPS enabled mobile phones have enabled more players to enter this new era of social media technology. Even both Facebook and Twitter have announced the ability to add location to your updates.
A new program, Checkin Mania, reviewed recently by Mashable, could have helped me compare check-ins on various sites for a particular location. But for my presentation, my personal research found that the majority of the Washington, D.C. updates were on Yelp and Foursquare.
- Yelp makes it easy for businesses to set-up their own account. You should know, in a recent Washington Post article, Michael S. Rosenwald revealed that several companies felt pressured by Yelp to advertise in order to have positive reviews at the top of the businesses’ listings. Yelp denies this claim. The article discusses other social media tools for PR, as well.
- Foursquare recently announced they will soon have analysis tools for businesses. It will allow business to gain additional information on their customers and provide instant promotions.
However, there are also real privacy concerns whenever you announce your location in social media. A recent Chicago Tribune article spawned numerous blog postings on the issue. But, are these concerns enough to stop people from publicizing which Starbucks they love best? Doubtful. Still there are some precautions that PR and marketing professionals, and location-based social media users should consider. As conveyed in the March BurrellesLuce Newsletter: “Be aware of your privacy options” and “Be smart about your postings.”
What new tools are using to help your clients? Are you using location-based social media sites to help drive traffic to your client’s business?