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Archive for June, 2010

We’ll All Be Using Foursquare Soon

June 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Most “normal” people we know want absolutely nothing to do with location-aware services like Foursquare and Loopt that let you “check-in” to restaurants and bars, letting your friends know where you are at any given moment.

A lot of these people say they would never join a service like that; they don’t feel comfortable sharing that information, and they don’t see the point.

We think they’re wrong, just like all the people — including us — who said they’d never join Facebook were wrong. Here’s why.

Check-in apps are rapidly becoming more focused on deals — coupons and discounts that are only available to people using these services. Loopt CEO Sam Altman describes his new app as “a virtual loyalty card” for participating businesses.

I have friends who have given up using foursquare, or won’t even try it. They don’t see any value to it. Sure it’s got the game feature, but even I’m sort of tired of it. What good are imaginary points?

The real value is going to be in finding inside information about a new place and getting deals.

Foursquare is growing rapidly, so the information piece is almost a given. What foursquare really needs is more businesses creating offers…really good offers. To me, $1 off a Starbucks isn’t compelling enough. Plus, they should really have a check in offer as well.

When I came up with the offer for Fat’s Bar and Grill, we came up with a great offer for the Mayor and a check in offer for everyone else. In Salt Lake City, there are only four venues I know of that have offers. When more venues create great offers, we’ll all be using foursquare.

Social Media Blunders – Please Don’t be an Ash

June 25, 2010 1 comment

Some companies are extremely fearful of social media because people can actually say what they want – good or bad.  Yesterday, I watched a negative social media interaction unfold before my eyes.  Another Utah SEO Company, SEO.com made a post on their Facebook page and a disgruntled client responded.  SEO.com could have responded in several ways:

  1. Ignore the post,
  2. Delete the post,
  3. Engage the complaint.

They made the right choice.  They engaged their client and even offered to re-examine their account.  Perfect response.  I posted it here as I love to see how businesses handle social media when it goes “wrong.”  This blog posts to both my personal Facebook page and my Fan page

Some of my friends commented on the personal page including my podcast co-host Janet Thaeler.  Some people from SEO.com found out about it and commented on the post over here, but I guess they found Janet’s comments through Facebook and read what she wrote.

As you know, my policy on Facebook is I don’t friend people I don’t know.  When two SEO.com employees sent friend requests, I sent back my standard reply to connect on LinkedIn.  Turns out they wanted to comment to Janet through my personal page. 

One of them, Ash Buckles, decided he didn’t want to do that.  Instead, he registered a website in Janet’s name and posted an article that libeled her and called me names!  Then he posted it all over Twitter!  Bad form Ash.  Do you do that with clients that leave you?  Absolutely unacceptable.

Janet was attending a conference and began texting me and then she called because not only did he put up this site, he direct messaged her some unkind words on Twitter.  Janet’s friends began standing up for her.  I decided cooler heads should prevail and tried to call Ash, but couldn’t get through on SEO.com’s phone directory.  So I tweeted my phone number to him to call.  By that time, I noticed the site in Janet’s name was down.  Thank goodness!  But the damage had already been done.  Thousands of people had already seen this unfold publicly.

I spoke to Janet again and Ash called her during our call.  Apparently he offered half an apology, because he thought he was right and apparently the VP of Marketing at SEO.com had made the suggestion as well as making him take down the site.  Then he called me, because of my tweet.  No apology.  He suggested I friend him and then unfriend him so he could comment on my page.  No Ash, that’s not the way I do it.  If you want to respond, copy and paste the conversation to a public forum like my fan page or my blog and respond there.

I told him he needed to publicly apologize to at least Janet.  This is what he said:

FTR: I apologized to @NewspaperGrl. HUGE misunderstanding. Everybody can get on with their Friday.

So the moral of the story is be really, really careful about how you use social media.  Hijacking someone’s name and then calling them a plagiarizer is not good business, especially when they didn’t do anything wrong!

I think Ash should take the new domain in Janet’s name and put all her social media contacts on it until the name expires next year.  At that time, he should let Janet decide what to do with it.  That would be a fitting apology.

SEO.com Gets Called Out

June 24, 2010 3 comments

Thoughts?

Why foursquare is growing exponentially…

June 22, 2010 1 comment

For those who don’t know Foursquare, it is a social network based around your location.  Using the Foursquare app on your smartphone of choice (native apps available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android and Palm WebOS phones) you “check-in” to locations, and can see other people who have visited and what they say about it.  By checking in more than anyone else, you become the mayor of a location.

Mayors have typically been given special advantages, being able to cut in line, a free drink or two, and other discounts to name a few.  Now, Starbucks is offering discounts to any mayor of a specific Starbucks.  The deal is $1 and “NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blanded beverage.”  The deal is good until June 28.  It may not seem like much, but Starbucks isn’t exactly known for frequent discounts.

We were talking about things that are driving foursquare’s recent explosive growth on the Web Marketing Weekly Show. I suggested this Starbuck’s promotion has a lot to do with it, simply because it’s getting media.

Of course we can’t ignore the rise of Android based phones and other smart phones that give people access to a foursquare application. I’ve thought for some time business involvement is going to be required for foursquare to hit the critical mass that will provide the value needed to keep it going.

It looks like we’re getting close!

The Foursquare Challenge: Employee Incentive vs. Customer Rewards? « Black Web 2.0

June 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Next time you’re wondering why you can’t steal the Foursquare title of Mayor from whoever currently holds the crown at your favorite venue, take a look behind the counter. There’s a good chance that the Mayor’s an employee putting in an unbeatable 40 check-ins a week on the throne.

Stories have begun to surface around the web about Starbucks customers unable to take advantage of the Foursquare rewards that their steady patronage has earned them because the person behind the counter serving the coffee is also the Mayor of the venue. Starbucks has replied, but their response (“Foursquare is open to any one that can access it and it happens that the Mayor of this location is the Barista again I do apologize for any type of inconvenience that this may have caused.”) hints at a looming showdown between Foursquare, employers and their employees.

Nick Johnson (@WWJDinSLC) made a good point about this when we presented on foursquare last month for SMCUV…employees at foursquare venues with Mayor specials shouldn’t be Mayor.

I check in to my business and my job, but they’re not location based, nor do they have specials. True foursquare venues with specials shouldn’t ban employees from checking in, just from being Mayor. Checking in is a form of advertising, so it’s not bad, but when it generates bad press, it should be prohibited.

What’s the point in having a special when no real customer can use it? By the way, Starbucks needs to come up with a better offer than $1 off for their Mayors.

Businesses should embrace social media

June 17, 2010 1 comment

“Companies should embrace it, not block it. But they also need to empower their employees with knowledge to implement sound social media governance.”

The ISACA report highlights five areas of concern for business. The biggest of these was the increased risk of being exposed to malware and viruses.

Other risks noted included brand hi-jacking, lack of control over content, non compliance with rules over record keeping, and unrealistic expectations of Internet speeds and performance.

“The greatest risks posed by social media are all tied to violation of trust,” said ISACA Certification Committee member John Pironti.

“Social media is built on the assumption of a network of trusted friends and colleagues, which is exploited by social engineering at great cost to companies and everyday users. That is why ongoing education is critical.”

Sites like Facebook and Twitter aren’t going to disappear in any great hurry and employees are still going to access them at work, whether on their own SmartPhones, Netbooks or laptops or the company’s.

Many youngsters entering the work place for the first time today have grown up with social media, it’s a part of what they do on a daily basis, and as such their attitude is one of complacency.

The answer is pretty obvious and Pironti is right, it’s education. If employers accept social media, and employees are aware of the risks and abide by the rules, everyone is happy.

This study points out the fundamental shift that has to occur when implementing a social media strategy; businesses lose control of their message. People are going to talk about you whether you use social media or not, so why not put out your message and then engage with others that talk about you positively or negatively.

Cutting off access, either in the office, or supressing detractors is a poor strategy. Social media is something businesses need to embrace and continue to learn about.

Why Your Grandpa Is on Facebook

June 15, 2010 1 comment

More proof that social sites don’t skew young. AARP study says older Americans are comfortable on the web and prefer Facebook to other social sites. Is it any wonder Facebook is growing by about 50 million users per quarter?

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