Facebook Places & Web Journal August 15th – 19th, 2010

So .. Facebook Pages is here – and it actually worked for me last night – I checked in three times and didn’t even bother using FourSquare until I found Facebook wasn’t responding (guessing Facebook’s backend network is struggling with dealing with all the 500 million who are suddenly able to “check in”).  Maybe that’s why FourSquare got more new signups – guessing that is.  Some are wondering if Facebook Places will put FourSquare out of business – i think it’s too early to say  (for all I know, it might actually help them).

Besides you and me and the rest of the 500 million Facebook members checking in – Businesses can now “check in” too … an excellent post on this from HubSpot was posted yesterday – Facebook Places Launches, Allows Businesses To “Check In” which supports my prediction  Social Media ROI will not be that much of an issue in 2011 – and I predicted it would be mostly solved by the end of this year.

While so much Social Media activity is “ultra violet” -  it won’t show up in your site analytics because we don’t have the tracking mechanisms in place in most businesses that engage in some form of Social Media outreach.  Social Media ROI won’t show up today easily because  the work flow to track it and tie in ROI isn’t in place yet; it’s not yet part of your Social Media Monitoring, either.  But the other day I wrote about China and how it was creating a new Internet of Things - but actually, we see more evidence of it in the UK with the TOTem project.  In any case, as we start tracking objects the way we track bits of data on a website – again, the ROI problem will be solved.

As a result of the changes happening over the last year or so with Geo-Location tracking, activities that drive ROI, and the ROI derived from them – will, more and more, become attached to sites such as a Facebook Places business location in the rest of 2010 and into 2011.   Once the 500 million start “checking in” to your location pages – that’s it – we’re never going back – we’ll have reached critical mass.

I know some will still be skeptical (but that question will be answered in our Social Media Monitoring Bootcamps later this fall) -  geo-location and mobile will deliver the Social Media ROI that business is asking for -  proof that people are showing up at your door and checking in because of the Social Media outreach and the dollar value of their visits and purchases thereof.

On the other hand, JaTin points out many Social Media Monitoring tools failed to deliver – but when the work at all – it’s often due to the tool being used for something else than what it actually was designed for and points out  …. “The tools, in and of themselves, are not important. What you do with them is.”

Yet, Facebook Places is different ….

Why It’s a Big Deal for Business

  • Facebook is building a suite of advertising tools that will allow you to list, claim and advertise your place on Facebook
  • You no longer have to educate your customers – they all know what Facebook is
  • People checking in at your business are naturally telling some part of the word about your business
  • Offering coupons and special offers for people who check in is a natural way to tap the power of using online tools to drive offline sales.
  • Data that you can collect on users and amount of times they checkin will prove extremely valuable in tracking customers and advertising spend

If you are a marketer, this announcement demonstrates that location-based social networks are transforming from a trend into a mainstream feature of social networking. Some of the initial developers using Facebook Places are social game developers like Booyah, who plan to create new social games based on location.

Facebook, similar to Yelp and other location-focused sites, is also allowing businesses to claim their location in Facebook Places. Once Facebook Places is available to you, add the location to your business. Once that location page is created, you will then have the option to “claim” it as the page for your business. It is likely that Facebook will launch many other marketing opportunities for Businesses on Facebook places in the future, so it is important to go ahead and claim your location now.

JaTin posted about Facebook Places and the Competition (Including Google) showing how all of the geo-location services are going to plug into Facebook Places and yesterday, the day Facebook Places launched, believe it or not, FourSquare had the most new people signing up,  ever.  I think we’re all expecting FourSquare and the rest of the Geo-Location services to be interoperable with Facebook Places.

Moving on – there’s a new platform for website visualization I’m trying – YouSeeble.com – just put the javascript code in place – I’ll report on more of what I see – once I can generate a few visualizations of Webmetricguru.com as my visitors interact with my blog.
Finally, today I met with Brian and Adam over at Roger Smith Hotel - and in showing them how they could use  Radian6 – it occurred to me what we might be seeing more of in the coming months and next year in Social Media Monitoring.
My insights often come to me this way – as if I “touch the data” and suddenly – like the guy from the “Dead Zone” … see the future, or a probable future.   As I touched RSH’s data ….. I saw the future of Hotels Social Media Monitoring – the next thing, or at least, one of the next things.
So, as I pulled the data on some alerts around a profile for Roger Smith Hotel and it’s local competitors – it seemed to flow to me …. as you can know someone is dissatisfied (your customer) in your hotel – as soon as they tweet or post about it via an instantaneous alert that you can respond to immediately - you could to the same thing to neighboring hotels who have dissatisfied guests. Take this scenario:
Person checks into Waldorf Astoria hotel across the street from Roger Smith – they get bad service or complain the hotel room is expensive …….. we set alerts in Radian6 to monitor anything going on at the Waldorf ….
Couldn’t RSH just tweet the guest over at Waldorf that “our rooms are cheaper and better” and encourage the guest to check out of the Waldorf and into RSH”?
Yes, that is a scenario we’re likely to see more of next year - the logical flow is that as these tools we’re using – the Radian6′s and Sysomos of the world – become embedded into our way of life, as much a part of it, I suppose, as CRM is when you call up the phone company and they have your history with them on a few screens – when that happens - wouldn’t hotels and restaurants - essentially poach from each other?
So what is?  A social media monitoring war?

What I just said – the monitoring tools with the instantaneous responses  could be set up to allow a hotel to know a customer is  dissatisfied (before they even get a chance to complain to some one – if they tweeted it first, for example) and be there virtually, right away.
If that level of alerts could be set up – and acted on – why couldn’t the same alerts be set up on your competitors?    Let’s say someone was dissatisfied with some aspect of the service and still had some days left on their visit.    Couldn’t they just “check out” and check back in again across the street?

It would not even have to be that many people – just a couple a week - that would make a big difference – this is a trend just waiting to happen but the technology to make it happen is here to day (though you may need to set up the processes and protocols to make it work effectively)
My prediction is … this will come to be – much sooner than you think -  next year – when you check in (ie: maybe with Facebook Places) and then make a remark on your Facebook Wall or Tweet about it – that you liked or disliked something about the place you were in (a hotel or shop) …. you’ll get message, probably a tweet – but maybe a Facebook message from a friend …..
….. and that message will be … hey, our services – our room, our meal is cheaper, better … come over here.
Yep, look for that … or better yet, let me help you put that system and protocol into place.  Ha! (can’t help tooting my own horn once in a while).


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10 replies
  1. dana says:

    FB Places is a step closer to taking the actual world online.. The concept of second life getting closer to real life I guess. I don’t know if I’m keen on getting ads popping up on my iPhone when I leave the office telling me about a 2 for 1 sandwich special at a place around the corner… Time will tell how this feature plays out I guess.

  2. Katie Morse says:

    I’m still stuck on your idea of “ultraviolet” data above.. it’s a good one and I agree. I think that it is one of the main things that companies struggle with regarding how to measure all of this. Do they tools they have access to highlight the information that they truly want and need to see?

    I’ve noticed some activity happening already regarding what you mention about the RSH monitoring for unhappy experiences with their competitors. There is a line to be drawn though, and that’s the line between jumping in when it’s not appropriate v. jumping in when it is helpful for the potential customer. Where does that line exist? The last thing anyone wants to be is the digital equivalent of the person handing flyers out for a new restaurant on the corner, or the guy yelling in Times Square about a Comedy Show.

    Interesting thoughts for a Friday – thanks for the post!

    Katie
    Community Manager | Radian6
    @misskatiemo

  3. Brian Simpson says:

    We at The Roger Smith Hotel would NEVER and I repeat NEVER use a social monitoring tool to take customers from another business. We currently do not even use the tools to search our competitors, we care about our brand and our customers.
    http://screencast.com/t/NDU3NmRhZ

    We encourage more and more hotels to use social sites to expand the ease and enjoyment of travel, not to start feuds. If consumers think that they can bad-mouth one brand in hopes of another offering a deal then the system will fail.

    Our goal is customer satisfaction and if a guest expresses something is wrong, we will see this and our response will be to attempt to correct the situation making the experience better for the next person. I would hate to think that a public comment from a guest turns into a feeding frenzy for our neighboring hotels. We are all friends trying to get along and plan to keep it that way.

    B.

  4. Marshall Sponder says:

    Agreed Brian – just brought it up as a possibility – the person who tweets they’re unhappy with a room nearby is probably someone who isn’t following you or vice versa – even reaching them in real time that might effect a change or help them with their problem be a challenge – I was just working out the logistics in my mind – not necessary suggesting someone actually do them.

    On the other hand, I think monitoring for all those things is a good idea – if for nothing else, to learn what conversations are going on around properties so as to better adjust our own.

    Hope I didn’t stir up the kettle too much -

    Marshall

  5. Marshall Sponder says:

    I think listening at the level I’m suggesting is a good idea – but as far as acting on it – I am not the expert here – I just see the possibilities – I guess one could end up taking it too far – but I think the idea of setting up alerts on all nearby properties and understanding what is being said and why is a good idea. I’m not yet sure what the action is or should be.

    Yeah, I always tend to write provocative posts on a Friday. The purpose is not so much to get people to have a monitoring war on each other (unless they want to) as much as it is to see the possibilities of what someone can do with a technology listening platform such as Radian6 (all the ways it can be used, even to some extent, for other things than it was designed for – as I mentioned in the post as well).

    Thanks again
    Marshall

  6. Chris Grayson says:

    Businesses should absolutely be monitoring their competitors. They certainly do in other media. I applaud Brian’s gentleman’s agreement, and his white-glove brand is one to stay above it all.

    However, among other categories, what Marshall predicts will be a given. Think along the lines of grocery store chains accepting competitor’s coupons. True this is not the sandbox The Roger Smith Hotel will ever play in. But for many brands it will be.

  7. Joe says:

    How do I register my business if I don’t have an I-phone or droid? I type in my Business Page and I don’t see an Icon yet for my business. Help please…

  8. Jim Mueller says:

    Finally, ROI for social media. It’s the number one objection clients have for not purchasing social media services. Once this code is cracked it would be a flood of business.

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