Archive for the 'Foursquare' Category


Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.


MOLOSO: Rewarding your loyal customers through mobile and social media


We’ve heard it over and over again: social media is a great, cost effective way to drive traffic into your business and create better brand awareness.

But what about the people who already know and love your brand? It is time that you show your loyalty customers some love.

First, ask yourself what makes your loyalty customers special and what do you want to accomplish? Do you want them to buy more or buy more often? Knowing your goals and the personality of your target audience is key is determining how likely they will respond to your attempts to reward their loyalty.

Second, do not forget about your social-loyal (SOLO) customers. For example, I am a huge SOLO customer of Dunkin Donuts. I follow them online and as soon as the Denver franchises open I will be a loyal buying customer. Here are a few ways to make your loyalty customers feel special:

Texting: Life revolves around our mobile devices. It has been shown that 73% of Americans send and receive text messages. This is a personal way to reach your loyal customers to offer them exclusive time-sensitive offers, notify them of their membership status and bring them in during your slower hours. Check out these examples:

  • Nail Salon: Monday & Tuesday special: free member only upgrade!
  • Frozen Yogurt: You only need 3 more purchases to qualify for a free 10 oz yogurt!

Facebook, also known as the face of social media, visually advertises your business, and allows you to interact with your followers. Loyal customers want to feel special, and through Facebook you can have conversations with them, give away specialty membership contests and reward loyal customers from their Facebook Check Ins.

Also, do not assume your loyal customers know all of the services you provide. Use Facebook to further advertise add-ons, special events, catering, monthly specials and new offers. If they are following your page, they are interested. They will be excited to know they can get more products and services than they may have thought.

  • Chick-fil-A: they offer their catering information (seemingly less known to the public) and (to date) have 2.4 million people talking about their page, and 6.2 million likes

Foursquare: Nearly half (46%) of American adults are smartphone owners as of February 2012. Foursquare is an app that lets you ‘check in’ at the businesses you frequent. If you go to one place more often than your friends do, you become the “Mayor.” The race to become the Mayor gives customers incentive to go, and to go repeatedly. You can further emphasize this incentive by offering the Mayor free products, upgrades, discounts and invites to exclusive events.

  • Arby’s Mayor special: they get to sit in the “4Square Mayor Booth” and get to taste test new sandwich offerings. They also get the special badge on their Foursquare profile.

Twitter: Tweeting may have less impact on purchasing behavior, but is a great outlet to educate your loyalty crowd. Customer service via Twitter is also useful because it will reach a vast number of customers and show them that you are concerned with their happiness. Exclusive offers for free products can also be advertised through a link to sign up with your membership or by registering to join your clientele base.

  • Morton’s: Peter Shankman tweeted to his 150,000 followers, “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, Thanks :)” – and they did!
  • Subway: incredible customer service through conversations with their followers regarding what they like and dislike.

With 12 million Americans using social media daily, you have a high probability that your loyal customers will be reached and appreciative that you have taken the initiative to thank them for being loyal. A little appreciation will keep them coming back, and more importantly, spreading a positive word about your business.

What advice do you have for businesses that are trying to reach their loyal customers? Give us your thoughts from the loyal customer point of view on Facebook at Weise Communications or on Twitter @Weise_Ideas.


Four Ways to Improve Foursquare

Foursquare, the location-based social media service, has implemented two significant improvements to the service. They have integrated with Groupon to identify when a discounted offer is available for a specific location. Also, they have made home addresses private, which will hopefully mean fewer sites like ‘Please Rob Me’ mocking social media over sharing and identifying when you are not at home.

In the spirit of helping make the service better, here are four ways that Foursquare can become a better social media experience for users, businesses and opportunity for marketers:

  1. The establishment/location should be alerted that a user has checked in. Whether the store manager gets a text message or there is access to a group Twitter account, someone at the location should know when a Foursquare user has checked into their establishment. There is one location that I have been the mayor for more than six months and visited for 28 straight weeks with at least one check in per week. So far, ZERO acknowledgement from management.  The marketer in me wants them to know I am loyal and in return they should consider providing some recognition that will encourage me to spread news by word of mouth or social media. I know this will not be popular with all establishments, as I have heard from retailers that they do not want to ‘pay’ Foursquare to recognize someone that has already entered their store.
  2. The leaderboard and points are irrelevant – connect them to something of worth or simply eliminate them. This is the portion of Foursquare that feels like a frequent flyer program as I accumulate points with every check-in; but there is no cashing in my points for a romantic getaway to Napa Valley. In fact, the most often question I am asked by a non-foursquare adopter is, “A 5 point check-in? What did that get you?” I would be in favor of a donating my points to a charity and that charity can redeem the points for a monetary donation. But, for that to happen, the points need to mean something.
  3. Create another layer of recognition besides mayor. Foursquare has designated the person with the most check-ins over a rolling two-month period as the mayor. Since many locations are offering specials and discounts to the person holding the mayorship, it can be desirable to be the mayor. However, there are many valuable, loyal customers that cannot breakthrough to become mayor of a location. For today’s purpose, let’s call them a patron. Establishments should consider a loyalty bonus for a patron based on repeat visits over a short period. The offer can be less than the mayor’s offer to encourage a patron to strive to mayorship and still recognize the patron for being a valued customer.
  4. Enrich the experience at events. On Nov. 17, I am attending the Thursday night NFL game between the New York Jets and the Denver Broncos. Wouldn’t it be great to have a video highlight from the game broadcast for someone viewing my check in? You know, actually sharing information. This summer, I attended the Peter Gabriel concert at Red Rocks. When I checked into the event it would have been great to have a live video link for others to share the experience, a connection to his Facebook or My Space page or at least a link to iTunes to allow someone to purchase music. This is also an opportunity for ‘Swarming,’ Foursquare’s moniker for a location with a lot of concurrent check-ins. The idea is: everybody is here, you should be too! However, if I am engaged at a great networking event or an awesome happy hour, I am way too busy to check-in. How swarming can someplace be if you are stopping to tell everybody about it? There should be an automatic check in Foursquare pre-set option. For example, if my phone is at a place for 20 minutes with 200 other Foursquare users, it automatically checks me in – and you’ll know it’s really swarming.

We are convinced that location-based social media can be a powerful marketing tool. Many of our franchise clients would benefit greatly from a robust location-based program, but only if they can see a spike in repeat visitors.

Have you had good experiences with Foursquare? Want to add to this list, share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


How influential are you online?

Have you ever wondered what presence you have online? There is a way to find out. is a website that will measure your influence across your social networks. It takes your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and any other social media sites and gives you a score. It uses variables from these sites such as friends, followers, retweets and posts. It measures these variables and gives you a score in three areas. Your true reach (how many people you influence), amplification (How much you influence them) and network impact (The influence of your network). It then combines the three scores and gives you a final score on a 1-100 scale with 100 being most influential.

Your True Reach is the number of people you influence. When you post a message, these people tend to respond or share it. Your Amplification is how much you influence people. When you post a message, how many people respond to it or spread it further? If people often act upon your content you have a high Amplification score. Your Network indicates the influence of the people in your True Reach. How often do top Influencers share and respond to your content? When they do so, they are increasing your Network score.

I’m sure by now you are at least a little bit curious about what your score might be. You should go play around on and find out what your score is. Link it to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, blog, LinkedIn and all your other social media sites to make sure you can get a score for all the sites you use.

Your score isn’t always going to be the same. You may sign on one day and be up a few points because more activity has been going on in your social media world and other days it may be down a few points because of lack of activity. You need to be consistently active in your social media to keep your Klout score increasing.

What is your Klout? Mine currently is 37. Share with us what you think of Klout and if there are other services that you think are more valuable.


Capitalizing on the Daily Deals Trend

Living Social, Daily Deals, Woot and the growing beast Groupon have struck a chord with the public looking for ways to stretch discretionary spending in a down economy.

In general, the one deal per day concept is simple enough to understand. Everyday an email with a highly discounted deal from a local business is promoted. Customers go to a secure site and purchase the daily deal. Once the deal promotion has ended, the coupon is available to be printed and redeemed.

The business model is pretty simple as well. The daily deal provider collects the money and for each redeemed coupon will send approximately 25 percent of the coupon value to the business. The daily deal provider keeps all the revenue on coupons not redeemed. Yipit, a daily deals site aggregator estimates that 15 percent of purchased coupons are not redeemed. Overall revenue growth for these sites has increased more than 40 percent between 2010 and 2011, according to a report from BIA/Kelsey, a media research and consulting firm.

For local businesses, the daily deals phenomenon is attractive because there is no upfront marketing costs. Daily deals offer an opportunity to reach unknown customers, introduce products and services to new markets, reward loyal customers and purge old inventory. For this opportunity, the daily deal sites are looking for items that will sell. A deep discount on something that nobody wants will not see the light of day on these sites. Also, any business interested in participating must be prepared to put together a great package as discounts typically range from 50 to 90 percent off retail price.

However, there is one critical success factor that often goes overlooked. In order for the daily deal to be successful, the business must convert the deal seeker into a long-term customer.  This means providing a high-quality experience when a customer redeems a deal.  This is especially important in a service-based business. For example, restaurant servers has expressed how much they dislike these coupons because they are working much harder than usual during the redemption rush on the restaurant, yet they are most likely to be tipped on the reduced amount of the bill.  Keep staff motivated by giving them an opportunity for upsell or an ancillary product/service contest.

What’s next: the combination of mobile with the daily deal. Foursquare recently announced that it will distribute AT&T’s Deal of The Day. In the future, we will see daily deal immediacy, like your phone buzzing if you walk past a store with a deal of the day.

By the way, if you have daily deal buyers’ remorse, you can resell coupons on CoupRecoup. Let us know if you are addicted to the daily deals and if you’ve had any negative experiences. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise_Ideas.


Will Business Revenues Increase as a Result of New Foursquare Application?

Foursquare, the location-based service, which allows its users to “check-in” to a wide range of restaurants and businesses, has recently launched a new “explore” application. Foursquare Co-Founder Dennis Crowley said, “The idea is to find things near you, including the unexpected.” This new feature will not only aid users in exploring new venues, but this application also has the capability of marketing businesses.

The new “explore” application works based for user history and search terms. By simply typing in keywords, users are presented with a list of establishments matching their criteria. These results are liable to include new businesses and the “hidden treasures’ users may not be familiar with. Foursquare aims to help its users discover their city and help businesses connect with their customers. Currently, the service has 250,00 businesses signed up which include, national brands, regional franchises, and “mom and pop” establishments. It seems that the new explore feature is going to make this location-based service even more enticing to business owners who like to reach new customers in a unique way.

The two-year-old Foursquare has nearly 7.5 million users worldwide and adds about 35,000 each day. With the new “explore” application, businesses may prove to profit by being able to reach new customers with minimal effort. It will be interesting to see how this application impacts business and if there will be a spike in new client retention in upcoming months as a result.

Share your predictions with us or comment on how location-based services have impacted your business. Share with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Social Media is the driving force behind online culture

One of the latest trends impacting social media is tagging an online status with a symbol. For example, the symbol to the right is the Super Mayor symbol for Foursquare, which is a special shout-out for holding down 10 mayorships at once. The symbol signifies to peers that someone made an online contribution or maintains a level of online popularity.  These online status symbols acknowledge actions and are becoming more desirable to achieve.

Initially, online status comes in the form of the number of LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends or Twitter followers. I’ll admit there is a little friendly competition among my friends to reach milestone numbers or connect with certain groups so their logo appears on the profile page.

But, Foursquare comes along and takes online status to the next level by tying it to achievement.  There is an establishment next door to our Denver offices where I am determined to be the mayor. I’m afraid that I might be spending a little too much time and money at that location to become the mayor, but that is the goal of location-based marketing.  If retail locations can encourage consumers to make every effort to obtain online status and tie status to transactions – it’s a win-win.  One retailer that understands the power of online status is Arby’s. Last November, Arby’s held a Foursquare promotion in which mayors of 37 locations from Evansville, Ind., to Huntsville, Ala., earned reserved seats at actual “Mayor’s tables.” The mayors received 50 percent off meals and Arby’s tested new products on this group.

As social media evolves, the lines between ‘real world’ and online can get blurred.  One example is the website Nerd Merit Badges which offers Foursquare symbols as a round 1.5” patch. You’ll see this patches adorn purses, backpacks, hats, etc. Further evidence of this ‘real world’, ‘online world’ crossover includes Crowded Ink, users can create a coffee mug adorned with profile pictures of Facebook friends or Twitter followers.  These images are some of my Facebook friends.

For marketers, keeping up with the cultural, intellectual, ethical and spiritual climate within groups of influencers gives your product or service an opportunity to be cutting edge.  As a part of an integrated marketing plan, consider supplying your social network with an online status symbol that displays their achievements with your company.

Tell us if you think embracing online status symbols improves social media marketing or if you think it’s just a fad. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



Success in location-based social media is all about influence

In the summer of 2010, Forrester Research released a study that found only 4 percent of U.S. adults have used location-based mobile applications like Foursquare.

However, the demographic make-up of these early adopters is highly desirable to many marketers. Eighty percent of location-based service users are male and 70 percent are between 19 and 35 years old, having bachelor’s degrees or higher. Even more importantly, Forrester found these location-app users to be influential.

  • More likely to say friends and family ask their opinions before making a purchase
  • More receptive to mobile coupons/offers
  • More likely to research products and read customer reviews on their phone before making a purchase

In the world of social media, influence is king. As this group increases in size, its sphere of influence grows exponentially.

In April 2010, Twitter said 37 percent of its usage came from mobile phones. Analysts believe this number will be much higher today as people use Twitter to reveal aspects of their daily lives. As mobile social usage increases, the influence also grows. Once Twitter starts allowing users to claim venues, through Twitter Places, where tweets originate, location-based services will really take off.

“We are not looking to duplicate the functionality of Foursquare and Gowalla,” said Twitter CEO Evan Williams. “When you are tweeting about a place, it is kind of a check-in, but we are more interested in the content about that place.”

Forrester Analyst Melissa Parrish believes that “male-oriented brands should forge the way with location-based services and other marketers should hang back until these apps get bigger audiences.”

As adoption of Foursquare and other location-based social networks are growing the value will only rise. For marketers, it is important to consider that the sooner you get involved, the faster your network gains influence and the greater likelihood that you’ll reap benefits from leading-edge platforms.

Let us know if you’ve adopted location based social media and your successes. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.


Branding Content: How creating a persona for your brand creates ROI

Branded content is essentially a fusion of entertainment and advertising that has been around for decades, just think of soap manufactures and the soap opera. With social media and the increasing prevalence of mobile apps in our daily lives, branded content seeks to have an increasingly large role in marketing and advertising of brands in the future.

Branded content can be anything from a short film, music, game, blog, mobile app, newsletter, blogzine, microsite or real-life event. The content merely exists to entertain and educate the consumer, while conveying subtle brand messages in the mean time. But more than this, branded content creates a persona for your brand and helps engage target audiences in a reciprocal relationship.

The idea for a brand is to listen to online conversations and establish what interests your target audiences. Is there a need or desire for certain information? Can you provide that information in an engaging way?

The most successful branded content programs are able to blend messaging in a seamless and transparent fashion, while still getting the information across to the consumer. Branded content creation serves several purposes: customer entertainment, stealth advertising and social engagement.

An industry that has embraced branded content is the fashion industry (see Louis Vuitton’s NOWNESS), but other brands that get it right are:

The iFood application allows users to:

  • Email or print coupons for Kraft products or even add them right to your store savings card.
  • Find recipes and post the ones you love to Facebook
  • Scan and enter a barcode to add to a shopping list or find recipes
  • Print shopping lists, coupons, and recipes
  • Get detailed recipe directions and even video tutorials
  • Set alerts about planned recipes, recopies of the day or special offers
  • Find a retailer to buy your products

Now, tell me that wont build more consumer loyalty?

Branded content is about creating an experiential story; It’s about crafting stories though every communication tool – signage, display advertising, print, radio and television ads, that are then translated to the web, social networks and now mobile apps. In the end it really comes down to knowing your customer extraordinarily well. By consistently engaging your audience via editorial content that is expertly mixed into the e-commerce landscape, you can tie sales. The best social media and branded content executions out there are driven by narrative, not commerce.

Branded content is quickly becoming a cost effective, long-term online marketing strategy that industries will continue to utilize as brands and retailers look for new, innovative ways to connect with customers online.

What impact do you think branded content can have on consumer behavior and where do you think this technique is headed in the future? We’d love to hear, so post a comment on The Side Note Blog, send us a tweet @Weise_Ideas, or find us on Facebook: Weise Communications.


Five Social Media Trends for 2011 and Beyond

Previously, we shared five marketing trends for 2011.  With social media being such a huge component of integrated marketing programs, we thought we would drill down on social media trends. Here are five social media trends for 2011 courtesy of Weise Communications.

1. With the rapid adoption of smart phones, QR Codes will explode in the U.S.

The QR (quick response) code can direct a user to Internet content.  To the right is the QR code for The Side Note.  If you have an application such as NEOReader or RedLaser open on your smart phone and take a picture of this image, our blog will open on your smart phone.  Cool huh?

Mainstream adoption of QR codes appears to be starting.  OnStar and AXE Shower Gel have created traditional magazine ads and incorporated QR codes. For these codes to truly hit the mainstream, people will have to know what to do when they see a QR code, the content must be rewarding and engaging.  Also, advertisers must resist the temptation to let the QR code stand alone. Consumers need to have some expectations about the content they are going to access.

Yamanashi Prefecture has taken the QR code content to another level by producing headstones with QR codes embedded in them. The “Memorial Service Window” enables visitors to scan the QR code and get pictures, videos and other information on the deceased. It also keeps a log of each time the code was scanned so family members can know when relatives visit the gravesite.

2. Location-based marketing will take on more prominence

Services like Foursquare and Gowalla use smart phones geo-location capabilities to let users notify others of their locations by “checking in” to that location.  Marketers will develop more innovations to drive traffic to retail locations.  One that we really liked was a Foursquare promotion in which mayors of 37 Arby’s locations from Evansville, Ind., to Huntsville, Ala., get reserved seats at “Mayor’s tables” and 50 percent off meals.

This is a great example of how location-based marketing will become wildly successful.  It will get more narrowly focused. People are more likely to use like Foursquare and Gowalla when they believe they will receive special treatment and can point to a specific value from participating.

3. Wikileaks is a pre-cursor to a new wave of privacy concerns

One of the side effects of Wikileaks, and the rapid explosion of released classified information disseminated through Wikileaks related social media, is that companies will tie social media information and interactions with the desire to keep certain information out of public forums.

Wikileaks has spawned new social business intelligence companies. These companies are working on the ability to effectively obtain and combine mobile, online and tangible information in ways that will identify information about a person or a business that is more accurate than having someone’s Social Security number.  Before this begins to sound like the ramblings of a conspiracy-theory freak, the trend we see on the horizon companies being more vigilant about data privacy in social media.

4. Measuring social media effectiveness will NOT solely be based on ROI

Retweets, fans and likes are not reflected on an income statement however, it does not mean that they are without value and merit. Marketers will have to push the C-Suite to recognize the value of these indicators beyond the bottom line.

Forrester research reveals that most companies don’t know how to determine the ROI of social media and offers a balanced marketing scorecard that incorporates customer attitude shifts about a brand and the ability to respond in a crisis.

5. Twitter figures out how to monetize the service

Twitter failed with Early Bird and is having mild success with promoted tweets, but we think Twitter will finally realize the secret of their service is…that they are a search engine.  Here are a few suggestions that Twitter can implement to start generating serious income:

  • Allow an auction/bid process for keyword purchases
  • Deliver targeted ads based on search terms
  • Deliver targeted ads based on tweet history

We also wonder if Twitter will give companies the opportunity to purchase followers.  How would those on Twitter choose to opt-in? Could the Twitter account holder share in the revenue? If your bought, can you ‘unfollow’?

Tell us what social media trends you see taking off in 2011. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



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