Location based social media is on the rise, but still little known by some people.. and for those who don’t know what it is yet here is a quick overview of what your missing out on, and what you can expect to become big in marketing news within the next few years
Location based social media is the idea of allowing your mobile device or smart phone to tell the world where you are when you hit certain popular points of interest. The two big players in the game at the moment are apps for iPhone and android phones known as ‘gowalla’ and ‘four square’
Effectively what these apps do is allow you to ‘check in’ when your anywhere that has a location set-up with them, they know where you are via gps, and if they don’t have a location set up yet you can set one up there and then. You may think whats the point, but this has huge marketing potential.
Some places such as coffee houses are already offering rewards like a free cup of coffee if you check in more than 5 times in a month.. and there is no way of cheating, they really know if you’ve been there or not. Places also keep leaderboards, allow you to upload images, pick up and drop ‘virtual items’ as you move around, become the mayor of certain locations and much more.
Of course at the moment they rely on you hitting a ‘check in’ button when your are there but there is talk of them soon being able to auto detect your presence and not just on a flat scale, also vertically (I.e the 5th floor of a tower block) by using wifi positioning. As well as auto checking you in if your at a location for over a certain time. Again this would have to be turned on first within your device as not everyone wants people to know where they are at all times. But I personally believe it’s another step to an open an honest world that will come about as a result of the web.
* ADDITONAL EDITORS NOTE * This has been added afterwards.. as shortly after this article facebook announced its launch of ‘facebook places’ its own built in location ‘checking in’ service which has been launched in the US and coming to the UK soon. We didn’t know about this when releasing the article.. but goes to show its the way forwards. See more on facebook places here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZfX_ZQag1BM