Geo-Social Media, or the concept of “Checking-In” somewhere and communicating that via mobile access to a social network, is still a relatively new idea. While recent consumer surveys suggest that about 70% of Americans are completely unaware of geo-social networking, such applications are poised well for becoming a significant part of the social networking world, and as such, a big deal for business reputation management and business marketing plans.
What Exactly is Geo-Social Networking?
Essentially, geo-social networking is a mobile social media process through which users of cell phones and other mobile devices can let members of their social network know where they are and what they think of the business or other venue at which they have checked-in. In order to take advantage of geo-social networking, a person must have a mobile device with internet access and a GPS or other location function, as well as a geo-social networking application through which to communicate updates to their social network.
Popular Geo-Social Networking Apps
While the tech niche of geo-social networking applications is still in its infancy, there are a few big names in the industry. FourSquare is by far the industry leader, though Gowalla is also becoming a power player in the field as well. The most successful of these mobile apps are those that make a strong effort to provide integration with the popular internet social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Successful Geo-Social Media Apps
The ready availability and promotion of any geo-social networking app is critical to its success with users. Additionally, those which are gaining the most ground in the mobile tech market are ones that quickly and simply allow users to get the app up and running and communicating with their social media accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Google +.
Consumer Awareness and Projected Growth in the Market
In spite of the fact that many recent studies show consumer awareness of geo-social media applications is relatively low at present, consumers who are currently using these dynamic applications are playing a major role in promoting them. Anyone who has a few more tech savvy members in their own social networks is bound to have been – or to be in the near future – exposed to geo-social media apps through mobile updates that appear on their Twitter or Facebook homepage feeds.
Geo-Social Media’s Promise
Taking FourSquare as an example, the implications of business reputation promotion and management through geo-social media networking is indeed promising. In July 2010, FourSquare boasted more than two million users and nearly six million registered businesses and other locations. In other words, those six million commercial participants in the FourSquare program had the ability to tap into the expansive social networks of more than two million users of the geo-social networking application. When you consider that a single user may have a hundred or more people in their social network, the promotional exposure for a business reviewed through – or even simply visited by – a FourSquare user is phenomenal.
Taking Full Advantage of Geo-Social Media as a Business
In order for businesses and other organizations to truly take advantage of geo-social media, there is some initial setup work required. Getting the most out of any listings also means taking full advantage of the promotional and strategic marketing tools and reports offered by the service provider. Little to no monetary expense is associated with registering with or actively using geo-social media merchant applications, making them a potentially powerful component of a successful business marketing and reputation management campaign.