Tag Archives: Foursquare

Are you an early adopter or easily distracted?




Are you a moth to the latest must-try social media flame? An early adopter always looking to push the envelope, try new things? Or actually easily distracted, trialling the latest new thing instead of focusing on the challenging things you need to do?

There have been a number of new, and not so new social media news stories in recent weeks (if you don’t believe me, sign up to Techcrunch), but the one that has filled my Twitter stream the most is Empire Avenue.

Empire Avenue is essentially on online game that works on the basis of trading stocks and shares in yourself or your brand, the value of which is based on your social media activity. Therefore, the more you do the more you are potentially worth. As people invest you, and you pass / unlock certain aspects, your stock rises as does your ability to invest. All in fictitious online currency though, not real world cash – yet.


As a b2b marketer, I’ve watched as location based services like Foursquare and Facebook Places, have slowly began to monetize their audiences with time-sensitive deals. Buying sites like Groupon have also contributed to the phenomenon of securing big savings on retail products and services. Retail and leisure b2c sectors are seeing benefits but an effect on my clients and their customers is still some way off.


I’m watching people get utterly sucked into some of these emerging platforms and I’m left wondering if it is affecting their business. Do I think that someone who runs Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter accounts, creates blogs and other content to drive inquiry, uses Foursquare, and digests/shares and comments on lots of other content, has time to deliver in their role, letalone play online games like Empire Avenue? No.

Business impact

I accept that there is something for everyone. But will Empire Avenue get you hired? No. Will Empire Avenue differentiate your business from a competitor? Doubtful. Will you be engaging with the same people you bump into as you journey the web? Probably. Will Empire Avenue have a tangible effect on your business? Unlikely.

Save some tenuous value figure I might apply to my social media work, and an inordinate amount of additional email in my inbox, Empire Avenue isn’t helping me.

And doesn’t that defeat the object? If new digital platforms hinder and confuse rather than help, what function do they serve other than to distract?

Image: Empire Avenue masthead



Top Tweets of the Week (A review) w/c 7 Feb 2011

My weekly Twitter round up

This week in history Beatlemania hit the US (in 1964) so it seems appropriate to discuss other global phenomena. I was interested to read that 381m checkins took place in 2010 on Foursquare. Haven’t quite worked it out myself, but local is going to be a big thing for marketers in 2011 – and the choice will grow too once you factor in Facebook’s interest.

Before the events in Egypt really got going, Google stepped in, taking the opportunity to promote freedom of expression by releasing a ‘speak-to-tweet’ service for Egyptian mobile phone users in the eye of the storm.

Another topic increasing its column inch coverage has been the interest in QR codes. Social Media Examiner put together a useful and all encompassing blog laying out the why and the how of using them in your marketing campaigns.

We learnt in the UK this week that the newly created North West Fund would make £185m available for businesses wanting to start up, grow and diversify. The small print says there is an equity share trade off.  Sounds very Dragons Den to me, but if you need a financial injection, are based in the North West and meet the qualifying criteria, it might be worth a look.

If you work in a cross border, multi-site or multi-disciplinary team, consider the GE approach. MarkNet was set up to link 5000 marketing professionals across 30 businesses. Inspirational.

And finally, as it is Valentines weekend, here are some Apps for chocolate lovers.

Why just dipping your toe online doesn’t work

Time and time again we see companies making a hash of their online presence and the opportunities afforded to them by the Internet. To some it can be a place to make a quick buck, to others it is a terrifying place only entered with extreme caution. To others it represents an incredible opportunity to reach and engage with likeminded individuals.

From a business perspective, you are doing your company’s future success online more harm than good if you are just dipping your toe and using the latest in-vogue digital marketing tools rather than joining them up strategically.

Limiting your reach and exposure to a single website, the odd profile on a social networking site or a couple of banner ads on key industry portals really inhibits your ability to shine online and draw customers to you.

A term that is already in use in digital marketing circles is ‘social media optimisation’. This takes the notion of search engine optimisation one stage further and in using high traffic social media sites to in essence provide a backlink to a nominated web page, means you are optimising your site through social media.

As a weekend challenge, visit the website namechk and enter your vanity url to see whether it is already being used. You might find in some instances it has already gone. If not, I really recommend reserving it on the following so it is yours for the future if not right now: Linkedin, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Vimeo and Foursquare.

And if you want to really go to town, you should also consider reserving your vanity url on Delicious, Digg, Disqus, Reddit, StumbleUpon and bag yourself a WordPress blog handle too.

All these tools will help you not only create durable profiles and content, they can host and distribute your content, driving inbound enquiries to your business. Which ultimately makes it easier for prospects to find you on platforms they prefer to use.

Summary: A strategic approach to using everything the web has to offer (just like any other approach in marketing) might be more protracted but keeps you focused and pays dividends in the end.

Image: My China Connection

Top Tweets of the Week (we 14 Jan 2011)

There have been some really interesting links to great content shared on Twitter this week. Here are my top picks.

MONDAY: Ten ways to deal with bad publicity http://ow.ly/3AQmo A shortlist from the Management Today website offering a short and specific 10 point plan to avoiding a BP style PR catastrophe.

TUESDAY:  Why Location Is About More than the Check-In http://bit.ly/ikApgV A great piece from Twitter handler @eMarketer explaining the growing business benefits to using services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Facebook Places and others to promote your business.

TUESDAY:  How to Generate Inbound Leads with No Editorial Department http://t.co/dHk7cgr via the ever-readable @HubSpot. A great piece of collective thinking, contribution and collaboration.

WEDNESDAY: 13 Must-Watch Marketing TED Presentations http://t.co/1nC3J06 via @HubSpot. As simple as it suggests, make up a cafetiere and plug in to illuminating presentations from business leaders including Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson and Rory Sutherland.

WEDNESDAY: The 10 Best Corporate Blogs in the World http://bit.ly/fObyhZvia Twitter handler @markwschaefer. Some great case studies and clear thinking on how to tickle a difficult but important element of your company’s marketing activity!

THURSDAY: Liked Viral Marketing Tips for B2B Success http://ow.ly/3Df58 via @B2Bbloggers. As it says on the tin, some great advice on getting your content taken up by target audiences.

FRIDAY: An excellent A-Z guide to Enhancing your Linkedin Experience http://bit.ly/ieqSoC via @smexaminer. If you use Linkedin solely as an online CV you’re really missing out. Take a look at this expansive guide to getting the most out of this evolving platform.

The digital nativity

Doesn’t really need or warrant explanation but this YouTube upload which is quickly gathering viral pace, is an excellent take on the standard Christmas story, but with a digital twist. Cleverly exploring the impact of digital on our daily life, it has seen over 60,000 views since posting two days ago. It’s a great piece of work. Enjoy.

The b2b social media challenge – is this you?

Change, by its very nature, isn’t easy. Humans are programmed to resist. So, convincing a manager or business owner of the benefits in moving from controlling and broadcasting your message to operating in a more engaging and sharing way takes guts and self belief.

Social media is in fact a horrible catch-all umbrella term. It does little for b2b marketers who work in professional markets, so it is best to start small and start focused.

Don’t waste time setting up Facebook pages and Twitter feeds if, for example, you sell valves and seals through an international distribution network (though over time having accounts aids search engine optimisation). Instead, opt for Linkedin to build your profile, join groups and forums and position as an expert in the issues that arise out of valve disfunction.

Consider submitting news and opinion releases and posting responses on prominent industry news sites. Over time this might provide opportunities to produce white papers and open up speaker opportunities using the latest webinar technology. With video accounting for around 50% of all Internet search, use YouTube to host a video channel dedicated to showing why your products, services and people are best in class.

This is all social media – relevant to b2b – but without jumping on the Facebook/Foursquare bandwagon. Taking a focused approach will give your business a more enriched online presence, placing it where your audiences are more likely to congregate. As importantly, it positions you as an innovative lynchpin to your organisation, as you enable the company to reach out to potential customers hitherto unreachable.

Image from Dilbert.com