Whether you call it geo-location or geo-social networking, “check-ins” are quickly merging the virtual with the physical to create an augmented reality.
Digital manipulation of our daily lives changes not only the way we communicate and view the world around us, but also influences how organizations must interact with their constituents. Some marketing and PR professionals aren’t buying into it just yet. However, adoption is likely inevitable.
Here are 5 beliefs about geo-location and the truth behind how it can support successful campaigns and initiatives.
The Belief: My stakeholders aren’t using geo-location or geo-social networking.
The Truth: Are you sure? According to a study of location services from the Pew Internet Project , 28 percent of respondents use mobile or social-location services, a number that jumps to 55 percent of all smartphone owners. This includes cell phone users who leverage their devices to find directions and services relevant to their location. “Americans are not currently all that eager to share explicitly their location on social media sites, but they are taking advantage of their phones’ geo-location capabilities in other ways. Smartphone owners are using their phones to get fast access to location-relevant information on-the-go,” said Kathryn Zickuhr, Pew Internet Project research specialist and co-author of the report.
The Belief: My company, brand, or client should only have a presence on Foursquare.
The Truth: Foursquare is certainly one of the most recognizable geo-social networks out there. However, it isn’t the only player in town. Google Places, Yelp, Facebook Places, Gowalla, and GetGlue are just a few of the more common platforms making geo-social interactions possible. The key is to know which sites will serve the interests of your business, clients, and constituents. As with other social media, incorporate sites that make sense with your overall objectives and align with the values and habits of your target audience.
The Belief: Privacy concerns limit the ability to target geo-location app users.
The Truth: It is true that people are wary of the information available to advertisers, in particular the data transmitted by applications. However, this doesn’t seem to deter them from using the apps. In fact, a survey from ISACA, a nonprofit group that focuses on risk and security management, found that “nearly 60 percent of smartphone users employ apps that access their location data despite having concerns about risks to their privacy and even personal safety,” reports CIO.com. Adding to the paradox, the survey also found that “despite growing awareness of the privacy implications of geo-location data, nearly half of users don’t know what is being collected or how it’s being shared.”
The Belief: My geo-location “engagement” must be based on physical location.
The Truth: The key is to understand your business’ overall needs and then tweak your campaigns to best use the hyperlocal nature of geo-location. Physical locations (e.g., where you can dine, shop, or take part in an activity) can get a boost when people search for services in their area – helping improve search ranking as well as conversion of in-store customers. Non-physical businesses can also gain from the exposure, including the ability to offer promotions and gain reviews from a targeted audience. “Local targeting through IP geo-location gives merchants the tools they need to get information for discount coupons, online deals, and banner ads. It’s about getting the right products, in front of the right shoppers, at the right time, where they are. At the same time, it allows marketers to more efficiently integrate online and offline campaigns at the local level,” writes Miten Sampat, vice president, Neustar.
The Belief: The gamification of society only applies to teens.
The Truth: Geo-location apps are neither strictly games (though there may be a fun and game like quality to them) nor solely for teens. “As a matter of fact, the most popular free application on the Android platform is a location-based service that isn’t a game […] Yes, Google Maps has added check-ins and offers tied to check-ins, but those few games mechanics don’t make the service a game,” explains Andreana Drencheva, in Geolocation Applications: Myths and Truths. Many additional apps featured in last month’s BurrellesLuce Newsletter: 12 Mobile Apps to Increase Productivity rely on geo-location features.
BottomLine: As with other forms of social media, the success of geo-social sites and campaigns are only as good as your organization’s or client’s ability to connect and truly listen to its audiences and align with their needs. BurrellesLuce WorkFlow helps you work smarter by providing all of your media planning, monitoring, and measurement services in one convenient and easy-to-use tool that you can access online or via the mobile web. So whether your coverage appears in print, online, or broadcast – BurrellesLuce monitors all of the media that matters most to you, including proprietary, copyright-compliant sources no other service provides
BurrellesLuce is the U.S. media content monitoring leader, providing curated, copyright-compliant content from local and national print (traditional and online), broadcast, video, proprietary online content, blogs and social media sources. Our comprehensive suite of affordable services is fully integrated in one convenient and easy-to-use portal, BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™. BurrellesLuce WorkFlow™ gives you everything you need to organize and manage your media relations and public relations efforts.