This morning I came across a Forbes article, in which predictions for the direction social media will head in 2012 are discussed.
What stood out the most was the prediction that geo-location will take off in the coming year. It’s true that 2011 saw a huge jump in the number of users on Foursquare, Facebook Places and other programs like these. (Heck, even I joined Foursquare, and even with my SoMe background I was very hesitant to share my location with the world.) What finally drew me in was the idea of getting “check-in specials”. What are these? A number of brands have created these to invective-ize shopping in their stores, and sharing what you’re doing with your friends. For example, Payless Shoes offers $5 off a $25 purchase when you check in or the “Newbie special” 10 percent off your purchase if you’re checking in for the first time. Also, Macy’s offers 10 or 15 percent off select sale and clearance items for checking in.
Why is this effective? Consumers want to know that the brands they know and love, and are loyal to care about them. Social media is all about two-way communication, and geo-location offers a ‘bridge to commerce’ that cannot be earned any other way.
These opportunities don’t just lie in retail. Almost every business can capitalize on geo-location technology. If set up correctly, those who check-in can earn points with each check in, which can earn them some kind of reward for checking in enough times and earning enough points.
There really is a great deal on untapped potential in this new media tool, I’m interested to see what businesses and PR pros come up with.