Today Entrepreneur ran an article on FourSquare’s new ‘passive check-in’ feature where, apparently, when you are in proximity to a business, your phone will receive tips and information about the business.
Immediately, you can see how this feature could hold great potential for creating value for members, as well as spamming them. On the one hand, relevant tips and suggestions upon entering a retail business could create value and convenience for the user. On the other, it’s frustrating to pull your phone out every time you enter a new store just to hear about the weekly special, which you have no interest in.
In many ways, this represents the demarcation line between success and failure when it comes to social media marketing. On one side of the line you have the ability to create value more easily for customers, while on the other you have the ability to more easily market to customers.
Many marketers are drawn to the appeal of being able to more easily market to customers via social media tools and mobile devices. The problem is, those customers aren’t using their social tools and mobile devices to receive marketing messages, they are primarily using these tools and devices to facilitate personal communications with friends and people they know.
For example, if I walk by a Target and get an ad sent to my phone saying Pepsi is on sale for $1.89 a 2 liter, that has no value for me, as a Dr Pepper drinker. But if I get a text from my friend Tim that tells me that the Publix in Florence is running a special today on Dr Pepper for $1.00 a 2 liter, that might prompt me to go there to buy some.
So the key, especially with a mobile app like FourSquare is to give me relevant content that also moves me closer to the sale. And be brave enough to understand that content might not need to come from you or your partners, but instead it might be more value if it comes from other users. That might not always be your best sales opportunity upfront, but its likely your best way to create more satisfied users.