New Social Networking Technology Creates Yet Another Advertising Opportunity for Businesses

Posted by on March 16, 2010 in Internet Marketing, Marketing, Social Networking [ 0 Comments ]

Mobile Tracking Devices used to be something that seemed so invasive and impossible, but with social networking websites taking the world by storm, it suddenly doesn’t seem impossible at all. In fact, a popular site Four Square, introduced this idea in 2009 to consumers always eager to be part of a new Internet fad.

Four Square is a web and mobile application where users can connect with their friends while pinpointing their whereabouts. Of course this seems entirely pointless and like a duller version of Twitter, but the way it collaborates with businesses is where it gets interesting.

Businesses offer incentives to Four Square users who “check-in” at their location. For example if someone visits a specific Starbucks location five times in one day and “checks-in” via Four Square, they will be named the Mayor of that Starbucks until someone beats their check-in frequency. The notifications can be sent to your friends in the form of a “ping.” Of course there are incentives for both parties beyond being the mayor of the local business.

Incentives for users checking-in come in the form of rebates and coupons all on a case-by-case basis. Users of Four Square can add details and tips about the locations that they visit for their friends to view, which also is beneficial for the businesses. Businesses find this a great trade-off given the publicity that the users are giving their company.

Of course Facebook and Twitter, the two pillars of social networking, could not wait to get their hands on this technology. In fact, Twitter just announced Thursday that their users can now select the option to be “tracked” during tweets. This way, instead of Paris Hilton tweeting that she just grabbed lunch with her beau in Hollywood, it can show she just grabbed lunch at Dolce on Melrose in Los Angeles, paired with any comments she had on her meal.

According to the New York Times, Facebook also announced they will be adding a tracker to status updates later this month. What does this mean for businesses? A great new avenue for free publicity and inexpensive advertising. My advice to businesses is to embrace this new technology and pair it with an incentive for customers in exchange for favorable press. And my advice for consumers, tweet, update and ping away!

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