Social Goes Mobile: Part I

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If you’re making plans for a night out, why not let the plans come to you? It’s becoming quite evident that mobile is the new social, and location-based services are the bridge business owners are crossing to get there.  Location-based services include sites like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt.  As an article in Friday’s Star Tribune titled “Mobile is the Night” describes, visitors to local bars and restaurants use these types of services to “check in” when they arrive, letting their friends and followers know where they are.

You might find the idea of “checking-in” at a business or restaurant idiotic – laugh if you want, Foursquare is today where Facebook was just a couple short years ago.

Foursquare has become a leading social media site and has experienced impressive growth recently.  According to a TechCrunch article on July 7th:

  • Foursquare will top 2 million users this week  (That’s up from just 1 million users last fall – they average

12,900 new users per DAY).

  • Foursquare lists 5.6 million venues.
  • Men outnumber women on Foursquare 2 to 1.

So what makes this social media explosion such a big deal? Caroline Melberg, Marketing Maverick of the Social Media Incubator, believes that these social sites will have a lasting effect. “This mobile-savvy generation in their early 20’s is just entering the workforce and will be driving adoption of these types of services, just like they’ve done with social media,” said Melberg.

According to Melberg, the explosion of smartphones, such as the iPhone, Blackberry and Droid, is creating both the desire and ability for people to access the web while mobile, and products like the Apple iPad are furthering that ability.  People search differently when mobile (vs. at a desktop PC) because they want instant answers – to know what’s going on around them right now or to find a location immediately. “With this demand for live information, having your business front and center when consumers are ready to buy is smart business,” said Melberg.

In the Star Tribune article, Marina Maric of ASI Communications commented on the fact that she uses social media as her party planner. ‘”I don’t have to go to 40 different places to find information,” Maric said. “It sort of comes to me. That’s why I love it.”’

That’s the reason people love these types of services – news and information that is relevant to them is delivered directly to them, meaning they don’t have to hunt for it.

Make sure to look for Part 2 of “Social Goes Mobile” later this week when we dig deeper into Foursquare to see more of what it offers for business owners.

07.19.2010

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