You can’t spell social media without “me” or “I”. The entire medium has become, through its own nature, a very me-centric platform. People only post as it relates to themselves, their business, or their beliefs, blasting forth their very own personal news channel that they deem worthy enough to share.
Foursquare is one of the newest social networks, specifically designed to cater to those through a mobile application. Simply put, in its most common, understood form, Foursquare gives users the ability to:
1) “Check-in” to different places or add new ones worth visiting
2) Let their presence be known to their contacts and the online community
3) Lay claim of ownership after multiple visits to the same location
4) Earn “badges” for usage levels
5) Leave tips and shouts for future visitors of the establishments
This can all be accomplished through the typical geo-locating (geo-targeting) found on mobile devices. Early adopters of this platform will be at the advantage as they will have simply collected more badges, visits, friends, and lay claim to more territory through their travels.
Now how can this be monetized? Or, maybe less greedy, how can dealers use this to their advantage? I’ve been thinking about this recently while actively “playing” with the system. Sure, this entire post may be directed to the select few dealers on the forefront of online exploration (and many should focus their efforts on the fundamentals of internet sales), but I wanted to head up this topic nonetheless.
Here are just a few ways I think dealers may be able to utilize this new social networking platform.
1) Any customer of the store (unrelated to employees) that are deemed the on-going “Mayor” of the store can have a little plaque in the service drive on a monthly basis (as long as they have the title at the start of the month) is awarded free oil change or a piece of apparel.
2) If the drivers of your courtesy shuttle(s) are given mobile devices to assist with directions or contact back with the dealership, they can help register drop off points of their customers – when delivering them to work. Provided they leave a recommendation commending the customer at that store, the recurring gratitude/retention will be easily felt and you will also be opening up a new channel of places to draw friends.
3) Have your employees check into work (not so you can track their presence on Twitter/FB), but so they can leave tips/shouts letting other customers clocking in know what some recommended specials may be. May also work for those employees you send to conferences – checking out what workshops they are attending while on-site (and not galavanting around town).
4) Actively request reviews and tips from those customers checking in regularly.
Now, I am sure I am missing some obvious practices to benefit your dealership and its consumers. I’d love to hear from you all and see if you can think of some other uses for this new application/network (above and beyond getting your employees using it – which opens you up to a wider network of potential connections – because that is a common need on ALL social networking sites.
So please let your imagination take off and let’s create some first-in-class best practices for this tool.
As an early adopter, very few benefits or activity will approach in the beginning, but over time, as the overall public becomes more in tune with these advanced internet marketing tactics, you will have been leading the way to a dominant Foursquare user.