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From: Jared Hamilton
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Similar to the fairy tale of the Princess and the Frog, there is another phenomenon in the real marketing and advertising world what pretty much reminds me on this tale. You know it is something new out there, you are not really certain what it does, if it works – and most likely you only will find out when you try it. Just like giving the Frog a kiss and see if it turns into a prince.

We all have by now heard (I guess and hope for you) about Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and other social media networking websites and networks. One of the newer kids on the blocks are social hubs like Gowalla, Where, Loopt and Foursquare. These three named social engagement tools are considered Geo-location based services which have only one goal in mind: To lure Users, Advertisers and Investors into their fangs. When in 2009 the Mobile Advertising segment scratched the $320 million mark, according to researchers at BIA/Kelsey, the year 2013 is expected to soar to $3.1 billion in the U.S.

May be I should quick reflect on the purposes of these Geo-location based services and explain what they are actually doing. Geo-location services are being embraced by mobile devices and encourage their owners to shop, communicate and socialize. When the purpose of these applications in the early phases were more likely game playing and seeing where my friends were hanging around, the momentum has now shifted. Capital Venture analysts nail it down: Location is one of the most important tools a merchant and marketer can use today. The opportunity to connect with potential consumers and existing customers of a brand can grow deeper. When you still doubt the success or let’s say upcoming phenomenal success of the last 3 mentioned platforms take this my friend:

  • Just a few days ago Foursquare was able to secure $20 million in additional venture funding
  • In April Foursquare just passed its first million member mark only to just passed 2 months later the 1.8 million member mark
  • With this speed Foursquare is able to maintain a growth rate of approximate 15,000 users/day
  • Foursquare has more than 15,000 business partnerships established, including Starbucks and even the news channel CNN
  • The company “Where” has so far connections and business relations with more than 20,000 businesses
  • Loopt has accumulated already 3 million users and attracted Gap and Burger King to their portfolio of clients
  • Gowalla is up to 350,000 users

Huge potential for local businesses advertsing on mobile platforms With the driving force of skyrocketing Smart-phone sales and approximate 11,000+ iPhone apps offering location services – the trend is not reversible. As you possible already know; Google with their location based application “Latitude”, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and numerous other Social Network platforms are adding or have already added Geo-location tagging. This is just the beginning. Further down the road is planned to combine Photos and Content with the locations. Chances for dealerships? Huge!!!

Just think about following scenario I discovered when I was a few weeks back in PA. In the evening hours I went to a restaurant, 4-squared my location to share it with my friend and followers to just say what I am up to and typing the info on the home screen of 4SQ. All this happened mobile (using a Blackberry). With my location (tracked to the smartphones GPS system) I also get a small information icon, placed on the right hand corner of the screen with the message “Check offers nearby”. One of the basic principles in Social Media “create curiosity” hit me up, I clicked and “voila” a Starbucks message shows up to tell me that the store right next to the restaurant offers $1 off any Frappuccino. What a perfect scenario in wanting to settle your nightly meal with a nice cold (or warm) Chocolate Chip Frappuccino.

The follow-up post on this topic will handle "how a dealer can utilize this technology for their advantage". In case you do not want to miss this, just sighn up for my RSS-feed @ SocialMediaBuzzer.com and being notified when the follow-up post will be life.

Eric Miltsch
Location has already positioned itself as the next real deal. Twitter acts upon your location info, search engine maps (EX: Google & Bing) have integrated real-time location information as well. Facebook is reported to be working out the kinks with there solutions. Consider what is done every single day within your stores - salespeople ask their customers to tell their friends about their experience & send them referrals. Now, If you knew that person is willing to tell their friends about you/your dealership & they had the ability to do so via an app - that can share your name, location & additional info - wouldn't you want everyone to know about this? http://twitpic.com/21kn1x These channels can help with foot traffic if played correctly. This is where the new digital community activity is happening - whether you like it or not.
Bart Wilson
I was at a restaurant the other day, checked in, and pushed it to Twitter. The next day I got a reply on Twitter from the restaurant thanking me for my visit. I looked at their Twitter stream and saw that the respond to each check-in with a personalized message. Very cool.
Timothy Martell
What restaurant Bart?
Bart Wilson
@Timothy, Z Tejas in Salt Lake City. Also, to be clear I checked in on foursquare.
Stacy Mueller
Enjoyable read! I do agree with Eric: if played properly, this is the road where the digital community will travel. Looking forward to the follow up piece!

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