Should you tell fans where you are at all times? Geo Location 101

Posted: September 29, 2010 in Marketing, Social Media

Since we have explored Twitter and Facebook, I figured it was time to look at the geolocation services out there. I spend a great deal of time during my 9-5 helping companies determine what –if any – social media tools they should use to reach customers, prospects, employees and influencers.  Over the last year, geolocation companies have sprouted up in the social sphere.

Since many of these services may seem frivolous without some explanation, I thought a 101 would be helpful.  The following comes from a number of pieces of collateral, websites and tutorials I’ve encountered.

Starting at the top: What are geolocation services?
These services (like Foursquare or GoWalla) help people find where their friends are hanging out and offers tips from other users on what to do once you get there. Using your phone you“check-in” at different places you visit: offices, bars, restaurants, amusement parks, etc.  Some services will also reward you for checking-in with badges, points and mayorships.

Checking-in:
Checking-in is the term used to let your social media ‘friends’ know where you are. To check in, open the mobile app on your phone and your phone’s GPS to find your current location.

Geo Tips & Tricks
Something a lot of people seem to enjoy is the ability to leave tips on a venue. People leave tips about their favorite dishes, things to do, how to get a discount and where to find clean bathrooms (a must know).

Be the Mayor – No Vote Needed:
The mayor is the person who’s checked in the most times at a venue over a short window of time (60 days I believe). Some companies reward their mayors with discounts and free schwag. Vote Quimby.

Points/Badges
Each time you check-in, most services will award you ‘points.’ The more times you check in, the more points you get. The points don’t really mean anything.. but they’re supposed to be fun and give you an idea where you stand against other users. Badges are another ‘fun’ reward for checking-in a certain number of times or at certain places. Take notice, some badges are sponsored by specific companies.

Now, that is a geolocation in a nutshell. (ok, a very brief and sarcastic nutshell) Short and sweet for any up and coming fighters, here is do you need to know about these services:

Pros
:
•    Provides some face time with fans
•    Can provide some ‘buzz’ surrounding some activities or promotions
•    Gets you associated with some brands that may become sponsors down the road

Cons:
•    Say good bye to privacy
•    Potentially feeding stalkers your whereabouts
•    Your excuses better be valid – because if you bail on an event and ‘check-in’ somewhere else you may be in trouble with your agent, your school, etc…

I personally don’t use these services because I am just not that comfortable sharing my whereabouts with the world. How about you? Any users want to provide me a differing view?

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