C’mon venues – Wake up and hand out the free coffees!

Yes! Another day, another Mayorship in the bag for me! But honestly, who cares?

It’s a sad but true fact, those of us using Foursquare are diligently checking into venues attaining Mayorships, unlocking ‘Local’, ‘Bender’ and ‘Super’ badges, for nothing! Currently no venue is fully utilising it. With a reputed 1 million check-ins a day and growing, I can’t help but wonder why businesses are missing the opportunities to attract and reward customers that are practically being served up on a plate for them (see what I did there?)!  Are we, the user, ahead of our time?

Or is it as simple as, they just don’t get it? Just like they don’t get those funny things called Twitter and Facebook. It’s just something those crazy kids are doing.  The genius of Foursquare is that the Venue owner has little to do apart from creating a reward, the users, simply by checking in, control the game and the Venue gets all this beautiful free SM publicity. I’m using cafe’s as an example but Foursquare is not limited to cafe’s, I believe if your business has customers, there’s an opportunity there.

In the US, where it’s taken off (surprise surprise), venues have special offers for their Foursquare customers. It may be a discount on the specials or a free coffee. The customer checking in most becomes the Mayor of the venue.  Mayors are due special rewards and so have a slight kudos, people want to become Mayors. People are visiting venues to become its Mayor. Essentially it’s a loyalty scheme disguised as a game – Genius!

Despite its current reign in the ranks of Social Media it took years for Facebook to become mainstream, and then along comes Twitter and people are still sceptical about that. So, my concern is this, I am currently Mayor of FOUR different venues in Edinburgh, when are venues going to realise that Foursquare is here, and hand me my free coffee??

Karlie MacGregor (@KarlieMacG)

Social media Marketing – getting buy in

Something that we come across frequently is the disconnect between client companies signing up to the whole concept of “marketing as a conversation” and then getting those people in the company that need to engage with the audiences to, well, engage.

We’ve approached this in a few different ways and the method which seems to work is of gradual immersion into the conversation through a structured drip feed of activity. Kind of like being a social media dealer and trying to get the clients addicted to the interaction. (Is Twitter the crack cocaine of SMO ?).

In some cases it starts quite simply with structured (but always authentic and valuable) blog posts which invites comment and conversation. Monitoring of the social babble to find strong conversations to start engaging with is alarge part of what we do.

At some stage, not too long into the process, there is a tipping point. It could be a tweet from someone they respect or a comment which starts off a strong debate but when this happens they’re off and running.

So the secret client participation is to make it easy, measure the results and show how worthwhile the activity is.

Can it be that simple?

Web2.0 drives more $$$ growth

It’s been an interesting few days for forecasts. Forrester Research, those boffins of net trending, have released a forecast that web2.0 investment will increase by 43% year-on-year for the next 5 years.

Web2.0 has been embraced by large corporations in two ways so far. 1) tricksy wow factor stuff to engage consumers, 2) internal collaboration tools.

It still feels like we’re at the experimentation stage of web2.0, using it as it surfs on the wave of middle adopters now getting the hang of it.

But this looks set to change. With web2.0 principles and functionality being built into upcoming software and platform releases, it becomes more mainstream rather than something other. When this happens, we’ll see more uses which are practical and effective.

There should be a pronounced shift towards consumer communication.

Web2.0 grows up.

Web 2.0 and Alistair Darling

Alistair Darling + Web 2.0Alistair Darling is not a popular man in the pubs around Edinburgh. After the budget hike on duty on a pint,  the Utopia in Easter Road, has made it clear that he’s not welcome. A call to arms on the blog Musings of a Reactionary Snob has galvanised some web2.0’ers and now pubs in Oxfordshire are standing with their Leith counterparts. A Facebook group called “Alistair Darling your barred”  has over 200 members.

So who am I?

Going to a big meeting and know that your name is going to be Googled is almost every day. Knowing that what will be returned in the SERPs under your name will be the escapades of some other <<Insert monkier here>>, who seems to be leading a much (really much) more colourful life than you can be a bit tricker.

SPOCK to the rescue. Nothing to do with Vulcan mind melds and almost prehensile ears, but Single Point of Contact through Keyword. By creating an account you can lay claim to those pages that are yours and say goodbye to the MySpace conversations and frat party tales. http://www.spock.com

News of my demise…

The glee with which the 5% downturn in Facebook traffic b/w Dec 07 and Jan 08, was reported was quite unsettling, remember the print papers during the dotcom bust anyone? (shudder)

So lets put it in context. First of all the traffic is 712% up than January 2007. Secondly there doesn’t seem to have been so much of a down turn as a stats error with Comscore’s panel changing as college kids went back to school in September, knocking out trend figures.

Stuff you should know about Facebook.

  • Facebook has over 64 million active users, 8 million from the UK.
  • Largest growth rate is now in the over 25s
  • Half of active users visit the site daily with average user visiting for 20 minutes
  • 14 million photos uploaded daily (put this in the context of Flickr 3-5 million daily)
  • 450 people work at Facebook with 65 billion page views per month

Digital Marketing in a Downturn

What happens if the credit crunch becomes the marketing budget crunch where wrestling with the CFO becomes a grim weekly reality? God forbid!

A lot has changed since the dark, fearful days of the last recession at the end of the 80’s, early 90’s. Back then it was the era of faxes and regurgitated Kotler and McLaren. But from adversity comes success. Recessions can be a breeding ground for marketing innovation in the face of tremendous financial challenges.

Online marketing wasn’t really around during the last recession, nor for that matter were most of Britain’s online marketers out of college (or indeed secondary school!).

Very probably the cost effective aspects of digital marketing would take a larger share of the overall marketing budget in a time of recession. Here’s a few aspects to ponder on.

Metrics – The good times and bigger picutre marketing go hand in hand, a down turn is a time of detail. If you’ve only been giving those stats a cursory look, it’s time to get into the detail. Mine it for the gold.

Competition – Keep a good weather eye on the competition through online tools and be opportunistic. Remember they’ll be feeling the pinch too.

Brand Equity Marketing – inevitably a target of the brown suits in accounting but a refocusing of brand spending to online and more granular activity of Social Media Optimisation will help.

Consumer Decision Making & search – test going against the usual agency SEM mantra of investing in generic keyowrd paid search. Refocus on terms which show a clearer intent on purchase e.g. “value egyptian cotton sheets” rather than “bedsheets online”. Measure the effect of this over a quarter in terms of both ROI and revenue.

Natural Search – it’s cost effective and sustainable if you spend some time getting it right. 90% of all site visits in UK have an element of search engine so make sure your infront of your potential customers when they are looking for you.

Online Inventory – harden up on your online media buying. Relook at the basics of time and geography, layer on context and investigate behaviour opportunities in large networks.  Negotiate!

Social Media Optimisation – can be very confusing for most marketers at the start. Invest in putting a strong strategy together and you’ll find that for ongoing minimal effort will reap strong returns.

Email – get into the detail and segment your database. If your email set up doesn’t give you the detail you want invest consider investing in software or move operations to an online emarketing provider. Focus on building loyalty and repeat sales with existing customers by creating incentives that match their behaviour/interests.