Friday, January 7, 2011

Costco's Five Social Media Faux Pas

Costco Connection, Costco's client magazine, often includes little business gems such as this article in their January edition about the pitfalls of social media.  Here is a brief synopsis of the main 5 points...

Ignoring the Competition
Social media allows for easy tracking of your competition, so use it! Try TweetBeep or Google Alerts for an automated message each time your competitors are mentioned online.

Ignoring What Your Customers Say About You
Negative comments about your company may turn out to be the best free market research you can ever do to identify gaps in your capabilities.  By responding publicly you demonstrate that you care enough to reach out and it positions your company in a positive light.

Arguing on Social Media Channels
Your business can be judged not by the fact that you responded to your customer but also by your tone and manner.  Arguing in public is a losing battle.  Remain professional and keep to the facts. If you are wrong, calmly admit and let your public know that you want to make it right.

Failing to Live Up to Promises
If you promise a customer on Twitter or a blog that you will take care of an issue, failing to do so will make it worse.  There are an increasing number of places to monitor where customers may be discussing an issue related to your business but it is important to do so.

Wasting Time
Experiment with social media channels that your customers use.  If you are not sure that a social media site is good for your business, sign up as a customer first and explore. If it is useful for your business then claim your business space on that tool.  "Don't just Tweet for Twitter's sake.  Focus your posts on items that matter to you and your business."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Location-Based Marketing

New smart phones that allow wireless mobile connection to the Internet, while also broadcasting your GPS location (yes! the satellites always know where you are!) have made an entirely new range of services possible.  Location-based marketing is an emerging form of marketing - sending you deals, offers and information that are relevant to you based on where you are (with your mobile phone in your bag of course!)

My friends at Sitepoint's Tribune Newsletter had this interesting article this week that I thought I'd share.  I receive a lot of newsletters and this one is one of my favourites! (I actually learn valuable stuff):

Location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla were all the rage last year, after starting out as a sort of game. It was only when businesses realized they could be used for marketing that the general public saw the potential. Since then, Facebook has released its own location-based service, Facebook Places.

If you (or your clients) have a physical presence (a retail establishment, restaurant, office, or other place of business where you see customers), you need to claim your listing on these services. Once you've claimed your listing, you can create promotions and incentives to bring customers back again and again. They offer a great way to build customer loyalty, and create a sense of excitement around your business.

Let's take a look at what's involved with each one:


Foursquare lets you create specials for free (for now), and there are several types, for:

  • the mayor
  • every X number of check-ins
  • when another specified condition is met
When a user checks in to your business, they can see available specials; once they've met the requirements, these will automatically unlock. Foursquare will even send you a window cling to help you promote your special.


Gowalla lets you purchase custom "stamps" that visitors can earn by checking in at your location. You can also create custom messages for patrons to see when they check in.

Facebook Places Deals

Facebook Places deals are still in beta, but are rolling out to more and more businesses every day. Claim your business and you'll see if you can post a promotion. If not, check back in a few weeks.

If you are one of those fortunate few, you can create several types of deals:

Individual deals—one-time deals, such as a coupon
Loyalty deals—require a number of check-ins before "unlocking"
Friend deals—unlocked when a certain number of your friends check in at the same time
Charity deals—donates a certain amount to charity with every check-in
The process for creating a deal is fairly straightforward, and I can see these really taking off once Facebook opens them up to all businesses. There are already hundreds of millions of Facebook users, so I expect this to give Foursquare a run for its money in 2011.

Promotions on All Location-based Services

Geotoko is a new web service that integrates the most popular location-based services mentioned above, letting you post your promotions once and distributing them to all three networks.

Geotoko will also help you customize your campaign with custom landing pages and Facebook tab integration. The service is still in beta (Facebook Deals isn't functional quite yet), but it looks very promising.

If you liked this content, check out Sitepoint and sign up for their Tribune newsletter too.