Posts Tagged ‘Foursquare


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.


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.


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.


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.




Five Marketing Trends for 2011 and Beyond

As 2010 is drawing to a close, marketers reflect on the past year in order to prepare for next year as well as avoid mistakes and surprises. It is also a good time to reflect on changes and leverage some marketing trends. Here is the first Weise Communications list of marketing trends for 2011:

1. Marketing Budgets Shifting Toward On-line

Clients, customers and prospects are spending more time online and are going online earlier in the buying process to collect information, create relationships, compare choices and determine conclusion about the items they will buy. Therefore, marketers must reposition marketing budgets to reflect their customer and prospects preferences.

2. Corporate Social Media-ization

Many organizations have deployed social media campaigns on Facebook and Twitter. However, they have not fully integrated it into their corporate website.  Primarily, this is due to the pressure to simply “be there.” 2011 will bring social media/website integration and a recurring social media marketing cycle:

  • Research
  • Plan
  • Engage
  • Measure
  • Repeat

3. Location-based Marketing

As smart phone adoption grows, according to a 2009 study from nielsenwire the U.S. smart phone penetration is 17 percent, location-based marketing and mobile applications will be a key mobile marketing trend in 2011. As of October 2010, Foursquare had more than 4 million users and has spawned a slate of competitors: Gowalla, Google Latitude and the recently launched Facebook Places are just a few of the mobile applications poised to take advantage of this trend.

4. Video as a Marketing Tool

YouTube is not simply a way to share video clips. It has become a massive search engine. Video content that addresses common concerns and issues clients, customers and prospects are facing then distributing video through social networks is a powerful way to stamp impressions into their memory and strengthen customer relationships.

5. Privacy is a Major Concern

The Internet has made it easy for anyone to obtain someone else’s birth date and social security number. It also houses other personal and potentially embarrassing (but technically public) information. While some may never be comfortable with data nudity, marketers must be leaders the privacy protection issue as enterprise marketing gets more social and mobile. One high-profile mistake and the entire industry could face forced government regulation.

Tell us what marketing trends you see in your 2011 crystal ball, if we have missed the boat or if you have another trend to add to our list. Share your ideas with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



Gain Mayorship, Earn Perks: Retailers Give Incentives to Foursquare Users

With the advent of Foursquare, social media has become competitive. Bragging rights of being a mayor is the big prize you win.

Being an active Foursquare user, I have caught the competitive social media bug. My friends and I compete to see who can unlock the most badges, check-in first at each establishment and earn mayoral rights. Since Foursquare users have become so competitive, my friends and I included, we all want to hold the mayorship of our favorite establishments; so it encourages us to drop in more often.

At some establishments it can payoff to become the mayor. Recently, Arby’s kicked off a Foursquare promotion in which mayors of 37 locations from Evansville, Ind., to Huntsville, Ala., gets reserved seats at a “Mayor’s tables” and 50 percent off meals. So not only are customers benefiting from being the mayor of Arby’s, but also the fast food establishment has the chance to run a loyalty program and test new products on valued customers.

Senior Vice President at Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. Bob Kraut believes, “This [Foursquare] represents the intersection of the social media conversation we want to be a part of and the real world target ability that larger retail operations desire.”

Arby’s is not the only establishment giving its social media followers perks. The MarketFair Mall in Princeton, N.J., has designated one prime parking spot as Foursquare Mayor Parking and on the first Wednesday of the month. Mayor of the W Montreal hotel gets valet parking, a spa treatment or a night’s stay at no charge. In addition to mayoral prizes, companies can also sponsor badges. For example, those who follow Mazda and check-in at participating nightlife venues can earn the Mazda badge and enter to win a new car. Mazda chose nightlife venues to promote the Mazda badge in order to reach its tech savvy target audience.

Although marketers are questioning the function of Foursquare, it seems with the competitive nature of humans, there is ample opportunity if marketers choose to seize it.

Tell us if you think Foursquare will significantly change marketing and social media 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.


When Black Friday and Location-based Social Media Mix, Consumers win if they can stand the heat

Denver-based Sports Authority is launching a very interesting Black Friday Foursquare promotion, and they are not alone. Other retailers like Pepsi, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy are getting in the game as well.

Sports Authority is giving away $500 gift cards to 20 randomly selected people who use Foursquare to check in at one of its stores on Black Friday. Participants are required to publish the check-in on Twitter to have a chance to win, and the promotion runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST. When someone wins the $500 gift card at one of its 463 U.S. locations, a store manager will make an announcement over the intercom system.

This is not the first Foursquare promotion that Sports Authority has run. Corporate officials were convinced to add fuel to the fire for this already busy retailer due to past ROI for location-based promotions. Officials are confident they have the operations steps in place to make the campaign a success.

This social media campaign will be advertised in the coming days with display ads, e-mail campaigns, Facebook, Twitter and its home page.

Other retailers are getting in on the Black Friday social media promotions too. JC Penney and Pepsi are running Foursquare campaigns this holiday season. JC Penney is offering check-ins $10 off any ticket exceeding $50 until Jan. 8. Pepsi has partnered with Hess gas stations, where check-ins can get a Brisk iced tea beverage and a Frito Lay product for $1.99. Perhaps more importantly for encouraging participation, they will be entered into a sweepstakes for free gas and Brisk for a year. The campaign runs until Dec. 29 at 643 Hess locations nationwide.

Other big-name retailers Target, Wal-Mart, and Best Buy are using Whrrl to run their promotions with the Holiday Deals Society.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this social media fuel for Black Friday. My guess is that retailers will succeed if they can have enough of the desired products to keep soccer moms from pulling each other’s hair out, but if not – this could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Hopefully these campaigns will be successful and lead to more location-based give aways and deals, because so many campaigns are sending consumers to a corporate website, if successful location-based promotions are another tool in the marketers arsenal.

Marketers, keep your eyes on the deals to see if this might be something for your company to try as well, and tell us what you think and what Black Friday promotion impressed you. Visit us at, Facebook: Weise Communications or follow us on Twitter @Weise_Ideas.


Why aren’t more Companies Integrating Email with Social Media?

Less than 40 percent of small businesses integrate email with social media according to a study by email marketing company AWeber.  Too often businesses believe email campaigns compete with social media instead of complimenting their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare efforts.

Start small if you have to – the AWeber study found the two most common email integration tactics were tweeting email newsletters and distributing blog entries by email.  It will be up to savvy marketers to lead businesses past elementary integration toward more sophisticated techniques for email/social media integration. We expect to see more businesses utilize email in the future to:

  • Launch viral marketing campaigns/referral programs
  • Include user-generated content
  • Invite recipients to join social media with ‘follow us’ links
  • Incorporate content sharing options

As marketers are looking to increase response rates and generate leads, the first more advanced technique to incorporate will be content sharing options. According to a study by email marketing company GetResponse, by including a social sharing option in email, clients’ average click-through rates increased at least seven percent. Interestingly, in the emails analyzed in the GetResponse study concluded companies were focused on Facebook and Twitter, almost to the exclusion of all other services.

If you have seen success integrating email and social media, let us know your success stories and if you expect to see more businesses integrating them. Connect with Weise Communications on Facebook for future updates.

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