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Can You Trust Crowd Sourced Recommendations?

We often hear businesses express concern about people rating products, services and premises on location based applications or web sites. There have been allegations from time to time that comments or ratings may be made by competitors or disgruntled customers, where perhaps the customer’s expectations were unreasonable.

Any of these may happen, but there is more to this situation, in fact several.

1. People are probably talking about your brand online now. The worst thing would be to not be aware of the conversation and not have the opportunity to engage one way or another. It could be to thank people for their positive feedback. It could be to address a concern they have. It is also an opportunity to share those with staff and colleagues. Often positive messages don’t get to those who need it.

2. People trust people they feel are like themselves. Generally they distrust advertising. Why? Because often advertising over-promises. I don’t need to give you examples. Next time you watch TV, study the first five adverts you see and decide whether the information is accurate. if you want underarm deoderant, would you be more likely to trust a TVC, or a friend? If you want to buy insurance or go on a holiday, same question.

3. What can you do about crowd sourced applications and the comments people leave on them? One thing you can do is develop one yourself, or with a group of businesses you are associated with. Another is to join in the conversation and have your voice heard. Another is to offer the sort of service you would like to enjoy if you were the customer, get buy in from your team and encourage your clients to share feedback.

Why

Here is an example from an applications developer called Springwise. Their mobile application has a bar code reader and the ability to scan a bar code, see what other people have said about it and why they think it is a good or not so good product. It also allows people to rate the comments or the person who left the comment. One thing I really like is that they have elements in it where you can click on an icon to explain why you gave the rating or comment, for example the product may or may not be sustainable. This one doesn’t currently have a location based element in it, but there’s an opportunity perhaps for a local developer to do something similar and get us to help.

Another application is being tested in Spain at present designed to allow people to share what appears to be a common problem there, which is where the drink you order may be substituted with cheaper quality or priced ingredients.

The bottom line is that people are talking about your brand or product. Why not get involved with our development partners and encourage the features in applications that you would like to see. Talk to your loyalty card program partners or your business association, or perhaps your mainstreet asssociation. It’s easier than you think. Talk to us:)

February 26, 2012 Posted by | geosmart, iphone, location based services, Loyalty Card, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Check Ins

We were at the Auckland ICT meeting a couple of night’s ago and it was interesting to corroborate our experience in the field with associates that there is both a chasm between people in the ICT industry and even their own friends and family in retail and other bricks and mortar industry when it comes to use of social media and proximity based marketing.

A couple of us presented at the Mobile Marketing Forum last month and felt that we were preaching to the converted and disappointed that only 4 bricks and mortar companies attended the conference when they were potentially the ones with the most to gain from being there. Generally what we found was that businesses either didn’t have a clue what checking in means, or if they did, don’t make the time to understand and utilise what could be a much better tool for them than dumping stock on daily deal type sites.

So here is a tiny bit of Check In 101:

Fundamentally the concept of checking in is to use a mobile application on a smart phone that is location aware, such as Foursquare, to register that the user is at a particular location such as a landmark or a business / shop. The location is verified using GPS or GPS assisted technology in the mobile. There are gaming elements such as badges or points and often tangible rewards such as discounts. People that visit a particular location enough times gain the title of Mayor of that location.

What is interesting and most retail business operators aren’t aware of is that this takes place, whether or not they are personally involved, which means people are entering their businesses and creating marketing opportunities, but are not being engaged in this medium. Most applications allow people to leave comments or tips, make ‘friends’ who are also allowed to see their location and make recommendations which could be positive, but could also be very negative. This means that even if the proprietor can’t make time to use these tools to engage and attract business, they may be losing business without knowing it as well. A simple comment such as “The toilets are clean here:(” or “The line was so long, I went next door” could cost not only immediate business, but steer people away long into the future.

The applications typically have interfaces to social media applications such as Twitter and Facebook, so the comments, recommendations and otherwise are creating a digital footprint that can be difficult if not impossible to remove.

Recent statistics from Comscore this year suggest that around 16.7 million individual people in the USA checked in to locations using Foursquare and similar applications over the first 3 months. This represents around 7% of the total mobile population. Recent statistics in June 2011 suggest that the UK and Western Europe currently sits at around 5%. That is a lot of people. People just like them may be in the area and walking right past your business.

July 22, 2011 Posted by | Auckland, Business Tools, Check Ins, Distribution, geosmart, gps, lbs, location based services, Mapping Applications, Marketing, Mobile maps, new zealand, new zealand maps, proximity based marketing, ROI, social networking, software, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment