Monthly Archives: October 2009

Foursquare and restaurants – social media and in person traffic

As I became mayor of a local restaurant on FourSquare and it was sent out via Twitter I was asked what value I get from that?  Well some of the restaurants are grabbing ahold of driving in person traffic and the game that FourSquare has become.

Let me explain further.  A restaurant sees, sometimes accidentally, that people are checking in (via FourSquare or Brightkite or whatever) to their restaurant.  This then shows to their friends and followers where they are and a place they eat often.  Most restaurants get business from word of mouth, not just random stopping by.  So to have those people continue to patronize the location, they offer coupons for that day via Twitter (see my posting from March 09).

Then along comes services like FourSquare that take location awareness to a game level.  By checking into a place often enough, you can become the mayor of the location.  No matter what it is.  Wayne Sutton became mayor of his hotel room in Vegas at BlogWorldExpo humorously.  So the restaurant rethinks some of the strategy and gives free drinks (or maybe a small dessert or salad, whatever) to the current mayor of the location.  The person is there spending enough money and announcing where they eat, so this becomes a frequent visitor/diner card without the card.

How do you, the user, capitalize?  Look for places that have offerings that you frequently visit.  Point out to the owners of some of these local delis, cafes and more about the ability to maximize patronage without extra advertising budget.  Look at what Rizzo Tees in St Louis does via Twitter to drive traffic.  Chris does an amazing job with offers, coupons and specials and has a large following.

Forgot the crazy thought about having a coupon show up as you walk by a place, most of us already have a destination in mind and there is so much more integration to be done there first with GPS.  This side lets the customer be the word of mouth.

Buy yourself some Twitter followers? I sense scam..

Recently, some discussion around this was brought up by Mark ‘Rizzn’ Hopkins and I took great interest after reading more information on uSocial.  They make large promises to deliver a certain number of followers in a certain number of days.  At a cost.  Their biggest promise is 100, 000 followers in 365 days for a minor $3,479 (normally $4,970).  That is an incredible increase from an account that has no followers up to even a few thousand.

The first alarm was the simple fact that uSocial themselves only have ~15, 500 followers at the time of writing this posting.  (They also claim 18,000 in their online propaganda which leads me to think they lost massive followers when Twitter removed bots.)  Then, they are following back all 15k which I bet most are the same bots that are driving their numbers. How can they guarantee you will have that many followers when the company themselves is not able to meet that claim?

It leads me to believe that most of what you are purchasing are bots or other accounts that are not true humans as we would hope when engaging such a service.  What kind of business ROI would we get from a bunch of bots?  Who guarantees the actual results?  How long will these followers stay? Where is the interaction? How do you get feedback or is anyone there to even click on your blog posting links or product information.

The second part is that they offer the service to push your product, 3 times per day for a month, to their followers.  I am not sure how many of us follow accounts just to get advertisements.  Having one here and there from the person that owns the account pitching their own goods is expected and I take no offense.  Having a feed of all ads?  How productive is that?  Plus, if most of their followers are bots, who are you really reaching?

Summary – buying followers is not economical nor helpful.  Building great products or having something important to say will grow your base.  That or buy your way onto the Suggested User List (SUL).  A sure guarantee to add followers. A tight community of thousands is far better than a loose collection of tens of thousands.

Do You Poken?

“I don’t know” gets you back “I don’t know” #smbf

In having a candid conversation on how certain aspects of the SocialMediaBusinesForum went last week, a brief moment of clarity was realized.  Many people at the event came with the attitude of “I don’t know”.

They came to get answers to questions they have not yet asked.  For example:

  • Q. What message do I want to portray to visitors that may use social media aspects of my site.  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. What content should I be sharing with my community members based on what I do for a business. A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. Who primarily would be interested in seeing and participating in this community, eve though I have good demographic information.  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. What items should I want to track to see if my social media implementation was successful?  A. “I don’t know”
  • Q. Who should be running the community areas of my site? A. “I don’t know”

I think you get the idea.  They did not come with an agenda of questions they needed answered, leading them to believe that they did not obtain any useful information. While some blog posts praise the amount of value, others in person and via Twitter (and such) said they were lost, didn’t gain much or didn’t understand the whole flow of information.

When attending a technical conference, you normally come with a goal to learn specific aspects of how to do a task or implement a feature.  Social media obeys the same principal where you must have already decided a guideline on what your goal line is.  While this line may change over time, you are always working for specific markers.

As speakers, we love having in depth conversations around the topics we presented as well as early entry type questions.  It shows you have interest and focus.  I would rather you catch me in the hallway after the session to clarify any area; express concern over not getting the focus; request further links/documents; or simply to say you were so new and some went over your head.  I can then sit with you, or set a time, and go over any of these to make sure you leave happy.  That is one of my primary goals when I present:

To convey a clear, concise message with honesty attached.

While I might not always be right or be able to deliver it perfect, I know you will feel free to come and ask me to clarify, not just sulk away unhappy.  I am not saying any session in particular had unhappiness, it was some overall statements we encountered.

BlogWorldExpo 2009 photoset #bwe09

It is not fancy, I spent most of my time live blogging sessions I attended.  I have a few more to upload but you can find this set,  geo-tagged, below.

IdoNotes' BlogWorld Expo 2009 photoset IdoNotes’ BlogWorld Expo 2009 photoset