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Foursquare Etiquette at Weddings

July 27, 2010 4 comments

As with any new and hip social media trend there can be some side effects such as addiction and annoying your friends. There are times when Foursquare check-ins may be just a bit obnoxious. A funeral comes to mind. Or a wedding.*

Some brides aren’t happy with someone live tweeting or checking in to their weddings. Although right now I’m not sure that’s a huge issue when it comes to Foursquare I can see how live tweeting a wedding could get annoying. (Note: According to Forrester: 84% of respondents aren’t familiar with location-based apps like Foursquare & Gowalla).

Today’s foursquare article comes from Janet who suggests you don’t “check-in” or tweet at your friend’s weddings. It turns out the bride’s don’t like the running commentary online of their special day.

An interesting side note is only 16% of respondents knew what foursquare was, but that’s another story.

I’ll be attending a wedding in two months for a bride that is an active foursquare user, so it will be interesting to see what she thinks.

Here’s a bigger question. What about tweeting or updating Facebook with photos of the event while it’s happening? It would certainly benefit interested parties who couldn’t attend wouldn’t it?

Foursquare for Fun – Six Flags

July 21, 2010 Leave a comment

To earn a Six Flags Funatic foursquare badge you need to check in 10x at the same park (there are locations throughout the world).  When you do you’ll be entered to win a 2011 “Exit Pass.”  The badge will be available to fans until Sept. 7, 2010. Those who earn the badge will also be entered into a drawing to win a season pass for the winner and a guest. That means it’s free but also no waiting in lines for an entire year.

Here’s the fun part – each park’s present Six Flags foursquare “Mayor” on Sept. 7 will also win a 2011 Season Pass.

Think that will drive more visits to the parks? Yes, so do I!

This is post number three in our series on using foursquare in real life. Six Flags has some pretty good offers. Hey Lagoon…take note.

We’ll be talking about more foursquare for businesses on today’s Web Marketing Weekly Show, the podcast we do each week on marketing topics. See more here: http://webmarketingweeklyshow.com

Foursquare for Real: 14 Days of How Real Life Businesses Use Foursquare

July 19, 2010 Leave a comment

14 Days of Foursquare Series

I’ve partnered with Nigel Swaby and our podcast the Web Marketing Weekly Show for this series. Each business day for the next 2 weeks I will post a new update on how a brand or organization is using Foursquare for their business. I’ll feature everyone from nonprofits to sports teams.

These stories are told almost exclusively through press releases on PRNewswire (link goes to their small business toolkit + special pricing) sent by the companies or organizations themselves.

Where possible I looked for updates on how the campaigns performed. At the end of the series I’ll link to each story. The last post will be a summary post with the best Foursquare tips. There’s something for everyone so don’t miss a day!

Actually, we’re going to cross post, but no matter. Check out Janet’s post today about some quick foursquare facts like they’re growing faster than Twitter and how the state of Pennsylvania is using foursquare to increase tourism. Like being the home state of The Office isn’t enough?

I’ll be writing about foursquare and sports tomorrow on this site.

Ben & Jerry’s Drops Email in Favor of Social Media

July 15, 2010 Leave a comment

(Source: New Media Age)trackingBen & Jerry’s will become one of the first big brands to abandon regular email marketing. It will instead focus on social media.

The ice cream brand has decided to cut its monthly newsletter because the feedback it received from customers suggested that the majority would prefer to be contacted on social media sites.

Email marketing has long been established as one of the most effective digital marketing channels and has become a standard marketing channel for most brands.

In a move away from established practice, Ben & Jerry’s plans only one email update to customers each year. Instead, Facebook and Twitter profiles will be used to engage with customers on an ongoing basis, both in-house and through its PR agency Mischief.

I had this discussion with an email marketer a few weeks ago. He reminded me that I wrote last Fall Twitter would replace email. I was wrong. It’s Facebook that will replace email.

The reason is, I can directly contact my fan list through Facebook and those emails are 100% deliverable. Email is a useful tool. It probably will be for quite some time. What isn’t practical is a monthly newsletter. We don’t look for news on a monthly basis, we look for it when we want it. For some of us, that’s every second!

Having put together monthly newsletters for several companies, I know the amount of work that goes into it. It’s just not worth it. Having an up to date forum where your brands fans can ask questions and learn about your products is much better than a newsletter. Social media solves that challenge.

Do the People who “Like” You Actually “Like” You?


So you just drafted a lovely Facebook status, attached a snazzy photo and shared it with all of those awesome people who “like” your page; but did you know that some of those people will never see your hard (crafty) work because they are hiding from you?

Yep, it’s true. And you can find out exactly how many by following these steps:

  1. Go to your Insights page and look at the bottom-left graph.
  2. Select Total Fans/Unsubscribed Fans
  3. Check the yellow “Hidden from Newsfeed” box.

Now that you have this information, what percentage of your brand’s fans are hiding from you? In our experience, an average of 3-8% don’t see your content in their News Feed. This percentage is something to keep your eye on.

Frequency of posts is something I get asked about a lot. For Facebook, too many updates is offputting. I try and post no more than twice a day for fan pages.

Twitter is another story because it moves so fast. If you’ve got a good tweet, you may want to send it out a few times in a day. Using a tool like Hootsuite will help you schedule it out.

If you don’t have anything good to say, hold back until you do…no matter which medium you’re using.

Are Social Media Connections Real?

July 1, 2010 1 comment

Using social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook may have more in common with “real” interactions than you think, the experience of one writer suggests.

The brain chemical oxytocin has been known to be associated with emotional bonds. Oxytocin is heightened in a variety of behaviors that involve people connecting with one another, including orgasm, birth, breastfeeding, and pair bonding. That’s why it gets nicknamed “the cuddle hormone.”

Given that this hormone is so important to interpersonal connection, it makes sense that virtual interactions might also bring out the oxytocin effect.

Paul Zak, neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in California, tested this recently on a journalist Adam Penenberg who was writing about Zak’s work for this Fast Company article.

Zak tested Penenberg’s blood before and after he used Twitter for 10 minutes, sending and receiving tweets the whole time. He found that oxytocin levels went up substantially, and that stress hormones went down.

This is great news, because other research has shown that people are more empathetic when their oxytocin levels go up, Zak said. They are more kind, honest and fair to others. In other words, people may be nicer – at least for about an hour – after they’ve been interacting with social media, he said.

There are people for whom too much time interacting online is detrimental, as they ignore or avoid in-person encounters. On the other hand, there are benefits to virtual communication.

“If your goal in life is to be connected to other people, how you connect doesn’t really matter – in person, online, it’s all the same biology of connection,” he said.

Of course, Zak’s sample size is one person, hardly making it a scientific experiment. But if it works so well in one person, there’s reason to believe it will for others too, Zak said.

A lot of people think social media doesn’t create “real” connections. I disagree and so does this article. What I’ve found is the way I use Facebook allows me to connect better with people I already know. Twitter helps me connect with people I don’t know. I as our connection grows stronger, I add them to Facebook as well.

From a business standpoint, I apply the same philosophy to LinkedIn. I’ll connect with just about anybody there because that is my professional profile.

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.

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