These days it isn’t enough for marketers to recognize that a trend has potential for the client’s businesses—they need to know exactly what is driving that trend and what the mindset of their target audience actually is. Only then can they tap into these motivations and really take advantage of everything that geo-location based marketing has to offer.
This article takes a look at what is motivating users of social media to connect with people and places and how marketers can use this information to help business owners reach their customers.
Why Do Mobile Users use Mobile Social Media?
Any marketer worth their salt knows that customers are not all the same, and getting to the heart of their needs and motivations is critical to successfully communicating with them. When it comes to the use of mobile social media, not all customers are equal and the driving forces behind their use of applications such as Foursquare will vary enormously from individual to individual.
Some of the most common motivations behind the use of geo-location apps include:
The geo-braggers use checking-in functionality with one main purpose in mind: to look good. They want all their friends to know all about the amazing places they are visiting and use applications like Foursquare to fuel their street cred. Through integrating their check-in activities with social network sites like Facebook and Twitter they can quickly and easily fulfill their narcissistic inclinations by spreading the word over a wider landscape. In addition, by utilizing applications that offer frequent visitors status points and emblems as a reward for their visits, geo-braggers are able to gain a celebrity status within a social group and thus fuel the perception of their importance even further.
How Marketers are Reaching Geo-Braggers
Tapping into the frequent visitor programs such as the Foursquare mayorships helps marketers to appeal to the narcissistic tendencies of the geo-braggers and motivates them to perform actions that helps businesses to communicate their brand. Anything that serves to feed a geo-bragger’s ego is bound to be a sure-fire winner.
Gaming and Collecting
The kleptomaniacs are attracted to mobile social media applications because they are collectors, and the badge systems that are utilized on the likes of Foursquare offer them an opportunity to fulfill their interests in acquiring insignia. The badges on Foursquare operate in a very similar fashion to the trophy system that is so popular on the Playstation. Users are rewarded for certain behaviors with badges, and the desire to attain these badges—which are worthless in reality—drives followers to visit more places and participate in events.
In many ways The Gamers are similar to The Kleptomaniacs. However, their love of badges and status symbols has a distinctly competitive motivation and these social media application users join in with checking-in activities for the love of the game.
How Marketers are Reaching Gamers and Kleptomaniacs
These guys are strongly motivated by competitive interests and successful marketers who tap into this driving force do so by introducing games and challenges into the application. The more difficult it is to win a certain accolade, the more the gamers will strive for it. Likewise, the more rare a particular badge is, the harder the kleptomaniacs will endeavor to add it to their trophy cabinet.
According to the JiWire’s Q3 2010 report, value exchange in the form of promotions and discounts is typically the primary objective of geolocation users. These users check-in to given locations in order to get an additional reduction on the cost of goods and services and are lured into trying new locations as a result of the public broadcast of promotional campaigns
How Marketers are Reaching Bargain Seekers
The bargain seekers have straightforward needs. They want a price reduction or something for nothing. Simply offer a discount to one of these guys and they’re all yours. One company that successfully implemented a strategy that was aimed at bargain seekers was Murphy USA, a small gas station brand that operates 1,086 gas stations in 22 states. When they realized that consumers didn’t sit around Googling gas stations, it occurred to them to try marketing through geolocation. Murphy teamed up with Whrrl to run a geolocation campaign that included a $50.00 a day giveaway to a random user and also free drinks from Coca-Cola as a reward for check-ins. The results? 85% of check-ins who went to Murphy gas stations did so when a competitor’s station was closer. They also visited Murphy locations twice as often as an average consumer. Not bad hey?
Before you run off and start planning your marketing campaigns you also need to consider what turns users off…
What De-Motivates Users?
While understanding the driving forces behind customer actions is invaluable to marketers, it is also important that they understand what prevents users from becoming involved in checking-in and other social media activities. According to a survey that was conducted by Webroot in 2010, 57% of the respondents said that they were extremely or very concerned about the threat that these applications posed on their right to privacy.
Discussing this threat, Jeffrey Chester, the executive director at the Center for Digital Democracy says, “In today’s ubiquitous digital marketing world what appears to be a relatively harmless tradeoff of your information for rewards or discounts is really misleading. Your information can now be instantly combined with both offline and online databases that can contain information about your health, financial and family status.”
How Can Marketers Deal with These Concerns?
Neil Strother of ABI Research says, “Some might be put off by the ‘Big Brother’ aspects of this, but it’s really about the value-exchange: if you care about getting discounts or being rewarded for shopping, is the value-exchange high enough so that you’ll accept having your whereabouts known to these companies in return for the benefits?”
Marketers need therefore to take consumer’s concerns extremely seriously and must clearly address them in all customer communications. Marketers who are successfully handling customer objectives pertaining to privacy are doing so via the application terms and conditions and well-placed re-affirmative messages that their privacy is a priority.
Condor Consulting (www.CondorConsulting.com), founded by Spencer Belkofer and Jonathan Page, provides local search optimization, online PR, and traditional SEO.