If Twitter was the social media platform of 2009, Foursquare may very well be the social media platform of 2010. It hasn’t quite hit its tipping point yet, but I’m predicting that 2010 is going to be the year of geo-targeted social media.
What is geo-targeted social media?
When you use this new type of social media, it factors your current location into a social media platform. As with other platforms, you develop a network of friends, but in this situation, your location plays a large part in your interaction. The probable leader in this field, Foursquare, is primarily used on the iPhone or other smart phone device. Foursquare notes your current location, and then displays nearby businesses. You can then “check in” to those businesses, earning points and badges, especially if your friends have recently visited those locations as well.
You can use geo-targeted social media to develop a large network of friends who enjoy the same sort of location and activities. When you walk into a coffee shop, for instance, you can see which of your friends have been to this coffee shop recently. You can find out which visitors frequent the shop, even if they aren’t your friends — yet. You may learn that someone likes the same coffee shops, clubs, bars, etc., and request to become friends. If you are in a new city, you can look up nearby places recommended by your friends. You can even play games, such as treasure hunts, by going to different locations that your friends have marked or suggested. All and all, the concept is to utilize your location in your social interactions.
How does this relate to your business?
Using geo-targeted social media, businesses can set up different rewards or incentives for customers to come to their locations. Consider this scenario: A Foursquare user checks their account on their phone, and sees that your business is nearby. Then they notice that you’ve given them a special incentive to visit, be it an in-store discount or a badge on Foursquare or other geo-targeted platform. You’ve just plugged into their social life, and most likely gained a visitor. It’s exciting and fun for the user, and a great opportunity for businesses to interact directly with potential customers nearby!