Marketing professionals are realizing the immense power of using social media. It is a potent marketing tool when used correctly because it eliminates a lot of layers that separate the marketer from its target audience. The immediacy and intimacy of social media is a natural fit for the hotel industry because it is a service-oriented industry and benefits from the close relationships social media marketing establishes with its audience.
One great example of how social media is being used by a hotel is the Marriott. The prestigious hotel chain knows that it needs to incorporate social media marketing to its online efforts and has done this quite admirably by adding various social media options in its website when it was overhauled. It now provides links to various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Youtube. The site has also established a blog and a handy link resource that point to various business and operational aspects of Marriott International. read more
Foursquare users checking in with Facebook permissions synced to their accounts will now find their check-ins plotted across their Facebook Timeline maps thanks to deeper integration announced by the location based service on Tuesday.
Until this point in time only Facebook check-ins and Instagram geo-tagging options were plotted on the Facebook Timeline maps.
Using the program means integrating your Foursquare account with Facebook and then simply checking in at which point your locations will be plotted on the Facebook Timeline map using standard pin placements.
Facebook and Foursquare have also made it so check-ins already map have been updated to mapped out pinned location markers. read more
Foursquare wants to keep its location-based service fresh by offering the most up to date POI (points-of-interest) data possible and in an attempt to ensure those POI numbers keep rolling in the company on Wednesday announced a new verification process for businesses that makes it easier for them to hop on the company’s system and get verified.
In the past businesses would have to send a verification request to Foursquare using the US postal service, then wait around for their documentation to be verified, an odd request given the technology based nature of the company. Because of hand requested materials and use of the post office it would take three to four weeks simply to have a business verified.
Under the company’s new plan a company can simply pay a $10 processing fee and get verified immediately. The new verification system is currently only available in the United States.
Social coupon service Groupon has acquired Ditto which specialized in connecting users with other local customers interested in the same type of food and entertainment options.
At this time it appears that Groupon purchased the company as part of a “talent acquisition” and will shut down the company’s iPhone app.
The possibility of integrating Ditto type services with Groupon is exciting, for example Ditto created a system in which friends could follow one another to determine what they are doing, friends could then decide to join in on a movie or lunch. The company also integrated its service with Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare so plans could easily be shared across various networks.
It’s not clear how much Groupon paid for Ditto.Me which currently has a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating with just 58 reviews and 1000 Facebook likes. read more
While Foursquare has never quite had the hold on most social users daily routines as Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, it is the largest location based service in the world and on Monday the company celebrated that fact by announcing 20 million users and more than 2 billion check-ins.
The New York-based company held its 3rd annual 4sqDay on Monday (number four squared based on the date) and in honor of that day anyone who checked in anywhere received a 4sqDay badge.
Here is the concept behind the day as declared by Foursquare:
In 2010, foursquare fans declared April 16 4sqDay (4/4^2 – nerds after our own heart!). Two years and two billion check-ins later, you’re still why we get out of bed each day. Thanks to all 20 million of you for making us part of your lives. Happy 4sqDay!
The 20 million user mark is a huge jump from the company’s February numbers of just 15 million users and 1.5 billion check-ins. The increase in users was likely the result of the company’s announcement on March 16 that it had integrated with Facebook Timeline, making check-ins easier to share. read more
Foursquare over the weekend revoked API right for “Girls Around Me” a social app that allowed visitors to find girls who were within their vicinity.
The app would use Foursquare and Facebook location information to determine the sex of a mobile user and then list any personal information that person made available which was overlaid on a map.
After the app was discovered by John Brownlee at Cult of Mac it went viral however critics soon worried that the app would be used by predators.
While none of the information that was pulled from the Foursquare API violated any terms of service the company chose to proactively remove the program in order to protect female Foursquare users. The issue of morally questionable content has been highlighted in various cases lately, most recently by Tumblr which chose to remove self-harm blogs from its platform.
Apple also apparently felt strongly about the “Girls Around Me” application, removing the program from the Apple App store just hours after the developer lost access to the Foursquare API, of course at that point the application was already useless since it couldn’t pull the location information needed to operate. read more
Pinterest may still be invite-only and the two-year-old company might only have 11.7 million active registered users but that hasn’t stopped it from surpassing Twitter as a traffic serving platform for millions of blogs.
According to a recent third-party measurement survey by Shareholic the visually based social networking company is currently receiving help from more than 200,000 online publishers who have implemented the company’s “pin it” buttons on their web properties.
When you consider that Yahoo has over 100 million users the company’s share platform shows the huge potential Pinterest has as a social sharing platform. read more
Three years ago Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley launched the location based service Foursquare with 100 beta testers in New York City and now with more than 15 million users and over 1.5 billion check-ins Naveen has announced his plans to leave the company.
With more than 100 employees now helping build out the Foursquare service along with 750,000 businesses being served on the merchant program it might surprise you to learn that Naveen is stepping down, however after Spark Capital purchase $50 million in employee stock last month some experts believed it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when” Selvadurai would depart.
Confirming his department Selvadurai confirmed in a blog post on Monday that he would leave at the end of the month but stay with the company as a member on its board of advisers. read more
Since Google launched Google+ the company has quickly attempted to piggyback on the social networks success by rolling out new ways to use social media information. Recently Google began sharing Google+ posts in search results and now it’s using Leaderboard to compete with Foursquare, a leaderboard feature that implements Google+ data to rank users.
If you’re unfamiliar with Google’s Leaderboard it’s a program that rolled out last week for the Google Maps platform and allows users to earn points by checking into locations via Google Latitude.
The program has rolled out for Android devices with an iPhone version sure to follow in the future.
Google hasn’t officially announced the program as a Foursquare competitor, in fact the company didn’t even list Leaderboard feature when adding it to the new version of Android Google Maps, instead focusing on minor bug fixes including “improved battery performance for Latitude and Location History users.”
Google has also not yet provided all users with the most recent version of Leaderboard equipped Google Maps and the program only works for select users once they have checked into a location using Google Latitude.
Using the program Maps users can share their location as they have been able to do for the last year using Google’s Latitude app. Once checked in the user earns points and they are then shows the Leaderboard page which ranks them against their Google+ friends.
We’re sure even more features will be added once the program is fully released to all Google Maps users for Android.
Would you switch from Foursquare to Google Latitude Leaderboard if the programs end up being similar or will you just check in with two location based services?
Here’s a look at Google’s new Leaderboard feature:
As location based check-in services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places attempts to make a bigger dent in the online market they may want to rethink how they target their adult demographic. That’s because adults in a recent study revealed that only 5% of older users take advantage of location based services and everything they offer.
Surveying 37,000 people the Forrester Group found that only 2% of adult users take advantage of location based services (LBS) at least once or more per week, while 1% of users claim to use the service once a month and 2% of users say they use the service but less than one time per month.
The heart of the issue appears to be that many adults don’t even realize that location based services exist, for example 70% of respondents said they didn’t even realize that location based check-in programs exist. That 70% statistics is however a vast improvement over the 84% of adult users who were unfamiliar with location based services in 2010.
Location based services also appear not to resonate with a subset of adults with 10% saying they have seen the programs used but have chosen not to use them and the remaining 14% say they have heard of the program but have never seen them actually used by anyone. read more