Geosocial Media: Why Incentives Work

Communication makes the world go round, and social media has immensely changed the way we communicate. It’s important that businesses fully understand this and adapt, so as to be the most effective they can be when attracting new customers and retaining current ones. It can be argued that marketers are the people most affected by the changing ways of communication. Social media is an extremely effective way to market a business and reach a huge audience or customer base. An interesting way to harness social media in marketing is by using geosocial communication.  Websites and apps that let you “check-in” to places you’re at can be a great way to garner attention for a company.

There are a lot of geosocial tools out there that can be used to positively change how a company does marketing. They all use similar strategies to promote users checking-in to different businesses: reciprocity and reward, as well as public announcement.

There’s a reason students sign up for an hour-long marketing study; they get extra credit. You’d be hard-pressed to find somebody willing to take time out of their day to do something for nothing. Incentives work, and the geosocial mediums that reward users for checking-in are most effective.

Let’s do a quick run-through of how rewards correspond to checking-in at different locations, using the popular Foursquare as an example.

  • Coupons/discounts – Everybody likes coupons! You can’t not like them. If you have a problem with saving money then I don’t know what to tell you, but Foursquare advertises that you can receive up to 20% off your bill when you check-in. That’s not a bad incentive.
  • Badges – Humans are competitive, that’s a fact. We all want to be the best, we all want to win. Badges bring out the competitive side in us. When you check-in to different places, you can earn badges. If you have more badges than your friend, you’re obviously way cooler than them. So, guaranteed they’re going to start trying to beat you. It’s quite effective for businesses because the customer basically does all the marketing work.
  • Mayorships – In my opinion, this is the most effective type of tool geosocial media uses. Foursquare’s mayorships are based on who visits a place the most. That means everybody who checks-in at that location knows you are the top dog. Not only does this correlate to a person’s competitiveness, but it’s also a public announcement of their feat. There is no better way to persuade an individual than to make a public announcement about them. That’s because once the world knows, the individual is going to want to stay consistent. That consistency being, go to that place of business a lot!

Three things may not seem like a very long list and that’s because, well, it doesn’t need to be. These incentives, or persuasion tools, are extremely successful for drawing in customers. Take a look at the following infographic from Austin & Williams about Foursquare.

Look at statistics about badges and mayors, specifically. Those are decisive numbers and they speak volumes about the effectiveness of rewards and incentives.