Geolocation spurs the commercial social media

Get ready for the commercial social media

Get ready for the commercial social media...

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The latest Facebook metrics are powerful: 400 million active users (7% of the world), 50% of them logging on each day and spending more than 55 minutes daily on Facebook.

The sudden concentration of traffic on the social media led by Facebook has caught business by surprise. In particular, small and local businesses don’t quite realize their consumer is now spending a majority of their time on the social media, but they continue to rely on the old online standard: their website. Websites and blogs are critical as marketing collateral, but local businesses need to develop an online marketing presence that spans across the social media ubiquitously.

With all the buzz around Foursquare and Gowalla, why is hyperlocal media suddenly hot? Geolocation is changing the social media by providing nothing more than the tagging mechanism to define social networks by localities. Geolocation facilitates the development of a new, more practical, more intimate Twitter/Foursquare network of friends who just happen to be living down the street. It’s far more compelling to build a social network of folks you can have coffee with than the national networks than generally evolve in Twitter and Linkedin. I myself see this… I am starting to socialize with San Franciscans…

The Hyperlocal Marketing Opportunity

So we’re seeing social apps like Twitter and Yelp quickly adopting location “check-in” functionality, with Facebook in the wings. And this presents a huge opportunity. It’s a no-brainer for local retailers and businesses to see that they need to provide the most effective online venue for their local customers to “check-in” to. The new local “websites” are the Facebook business page, the new local advertising vehicle is the Twitter coupon, and the new reviews column is Yelp.

You haven’t seen them yet, but Facebook is primed to evolve into a massive Sunday advertising circular for local businesses:

facebook office depot ad

And why not? It’s free. Enterprising local media publishers (for example, Breaking News sites) will curate and compile these merchants into local online directories.

Twitter will develop hyperlocal couponing systems that will be online equivalents of PennySaver coupons and Valpak:

Twitter couponing BreakingSFNews.com

And why not? It’s free. Couponing is effective because it is perceived by consumers as “found money” while straight advertising may now be considered “spammy”. You’ll see the advent of new local social media based advertising agencies that will create turnkey Twitter / Facebook / Foursquare couponing campaigns for merchants. And these campaigns will be accepted because online data is more efficient for tracking and analysis than traditional advertising channels like radio / TV or inefficient direct mail offerings like PennySaver. There is a defined ROI.

Conclusion

2009 was the year when the masses found Twitter and Facebook. 2010 will be the year when local business begins to recognize the power of leveraging Facebook, Twitter, Yelp and Foursquare et al to achieve a level of community engagement that standard “one-way message” advertising can’t achieve. It’s about being ubiquitous across the social media so your community of customers can find your services via their preferred channels – Twitter, Facebook, etc.

Related slideshow: Ubiquity marketing (Jan. 2010)

Related webinar: I’ll be discussing “The Impact of Geolocational Media” on the Virtual Bar Camp April 6 at 2:15pm, Room #4. Register and join our discussion.

About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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