Is Facebook’s new Graph Search Engine a danger to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp & Foursquare, as according to these arguments?

Answer by Robert Scoble:

It is a threat, but only in the long-term if the others don’t react quickly.

I’ve used the new search engine quite a bit. Yes, it is disruptive to many of those competitors.

Just so you know where I’m coming from, I study how others use Facebook and have built several lists, including these: Continue reading “Is Facebook’s new Graph Search Engine a danger to Google, LinkedIn, Yelp & Foursquare, as according to these arguments?”


Choosing a Mobile Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business

[tweetmeme]By Blake Sanders

Mobile Broadband A business’s resourcefulness can be a determining factor of success in today’s market. More and more, businesses are recognizing the importance of social media in the marketing world. Facebook, Groupon, and Foursquare have each taken a different approach to marketing for small businesses. Consumers are benefiting from their mobile marketing efforts by receiving discounts. Businesses benefit by increasing revenue and gaining exposure from new customers. Each tool has changed the face of online marketing. Advancements in mobile broadband Internet have made all of this possible.

Mobile Broadband Marketing

Mobile broadband marketing is growing in popularity. Many consumers are using mobile internet to access information about businesses and discounts while on the go. People that use mobile internet may contact their friends to meet them at particular locations. Businesses benefit because the revenue increase is immediate. Friends contact their friends and, immediately, a small business has customers.

The usefulness of social media is endless. Consumers are truly benefiting from small businesses that desire to build clientele. As customers value the product and become loyal customers, the small business will grow and be required to spend fewer marketing dollars to retain current customers. Small businesses may reinvest the money into other areas of the company.


Facebook has partnered with businesses to help them gain more customers by improving customer service, offering promotional deals, and improving public relations online. After the introduction of Groupon, Facebook attempted to offer Facebook Deals to provide online incentives for users of its vast social network. The idea did not do as well as expected.

Instead, Facebook decided to focus on location-based marketing through the use of Facebook Places and “tagging” businesses that were offering deals in the user’s location. This tool allows consumers to find their friends in any location as well as earn discounts.

Facebook continues to excel in other areas and facilitate businesses by helping them offer deals to their customers. Facebook facilitates companies that offer promotional deals to consumers without formally starting their own discount coupon company. Discounts encourage people to shop more. Increased shopping builds brand loyalty. When friends refer friends, they receive more incentives than they would if they did not refer friends.


Groupon is a remarkable new marketing tool that helps companies gain exposure by offering discounted rates to people buying together at one time. Consumers may receive discounts on salons, massages, dinner or countless other items. These people redeem their coupons at the establishment by a given time period. This company may also offer incentives for customers that also invite their friends to participate. For instance, if three or more friends purchase a deal, the consumer will receive their deal free.


Foursquare mayorships allow its users to “check in” to businesses and receive promotional deals for “check ins.” For instance, a person may “check in” at a coffee shop 10 times and then receive a free coffee. The idea is to reward loyal customers that visit a location frequently. Companies increase revenue with repeat business. The mayorships also encourage large groups of people to gather in a location at a single time. People that can bring a crowd will be rewarded with a discount. Unfortunately, employees or managers cannot participate and receive discounts at their location.

Las Vegas Casinos, retail stores, and others are using this concept to lure customers into their establishments. The concept works. People must get accustomed to the idea of people locating them and flashing personalized advertisements.

Blake Sanders is a tech writer at Broadband Expert, the broadband comparison website. He specializes in writing on mobile broadband, mobile phones, and the latest in wireless internet provider news and information.

Note: Photo courtesy of pinksherbet via FlickR Creative Commons.


7 Reasons Your Business Should Embrace Foursquare

By Dwayne Kilbourne

When it comes to the location-based services (LBS) social networks, Foursquare has grown to become the de facto segment leader, but the landscape is getting quite diverse with new competitors arriving all the time. Luckily, Foursquare has continued to push the envelope in innovation and partnerships. As a result, the user base has continued to grow at an impressive pace, and more businesses and brands are jumping on board. But, many companies are unsure if Foursquare is worth the time and effort, so here are seven reasons why your organization should give foursquare a look or two.

Why Your Business Should Use Foursquare

1. Use Foursquare specials to reach new customers: If your organization offers a Foursquare special, it shows up on the mobile app screen of anybody who is checking in nearby, and many users will click on the option to view those specials that are nearby them, motivating many of them to stop in at your business establishment.

2. Claiming your venue gives you competitive advantage: Every time a customer uses Foursquare to check-in at your venue (so long as they are not checking in off-grid), you see them listed within your merchant management tools. If they have a Twitter profile linked to their Foursquare profile, you now have the capability to reach out and tweet them a thank you for stopping in; this enables your business to start engaging the customer and building that relationship. If they do not have a Twitter or Facebook profile linked, you could still friend request them from your branded account and use the comment feature within Foursquare to send along your gratitude. Cropping out and establishing your piece of this channel right now will allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition.

3. Data… Data… Data: Piggy-backing on the last note about how claiming your venue adds to your competitive edge, Foursquare also provides great data about your customers. Do you have more females or males checking in using Foursquare? Who was your most recent Foursquare user to check-in? Which Foursquare user frequents your venue the most within the past certain amount of days? When do most of your customers check-in each day? Seeing how this information is currently free to all businesses who claim their venue(s), giving Foursquare at least one try should be a no-brainer!

4. Foursquare Tips: Whether you know it or not, Foursquare users are leaving tips about your business as we speak. Even if you haven’t joined this party, people have created your venue, checked into your venue, and probably added tips and pictures. Engaging these customers by participating in the conversation helps you understand your customers’ perspectives and feedback.

5. Foursquare is popular: When it comes to location-based services, Foursquare is the top name in the game. Currently, the service has over 10 million registered users, and many of them are highly enthusiastic. You’d be surprised just how many people are using Foursquare to check into venues in your area.

6. Foursquare is customizable: Unlike many social media networks, Foursquare is excited to hear the enthusiasm from their user base. As a result, they have opened up their API to anybody who wants to build off of it. Hence, there are many new and interesting third-party apps that build off of the Foursquare platform. This means that your company has that option too. Foursquare continues to add new business-friendly features every few months, and that provides businesses, large and small, the chance to try out new things. Recently, the company announced that it is unveiling the Merchant API in an effort to allow brands to build on top of the Foursquare experience and help streamline it into their current systems.

7. The price – foursquare is free for everybody: Unless you are looking to really market using badges and the like (something that currently runs about $25,000 per month with a three month minimum commitment), the experience is free to try and use. This means that you can play around with this social network without worrying about losing a great deal of investment money.

Personally, I have over 10,000 foursquare check-ins, manage three venues for clients, am a superuser level 2 and part of the Foursquare Ambassador Program, and surprisingly met my girlfriend because of Foursquare, I admittedly am a little biased towards foursquare, but their continued success is hard to ignore, and they continue to be a really popular social network. Some will argue that there are worries about privacy, but the company has really done a great job of stepping up by offering all of their users a vast array of options and settings to select from, further creating a user-friendly and business-friendly network for all to enjoy. Again, the service is free, so I encourage you and your organization to give this growing network a try; I’m anxious to hear your thoughts about Foursquare and your Foursquare experiences!

If you would like to learn more about how Foursquare can help you business, feel free to check out the Foursquare presentation I gave about this topic with a local group of business professionals. Also, I encourage you to visit AboutFoursquare.com for anything and everything related to Foursquare, check out their weekly podcast, and engage with other Foursquare users on the weekly #4sqCHAT TweetChat that takes place every Monday evening at 9pm EST. Finally, claiming your venue is really easy; feel free to contact me if you have difficulty getting through the claim process!

Dwayne Kilbourne is President & CEO of Kilbourne & Associates, Inc.


Apple Preparing to Bite into Geolocation Social Networking

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I just read an article in Information Week that Apple has filed a patent for technology that would let it create a geolocation social network similar to Foursquare.

This is a pretty interesting development, since I just wrote about Foursquare yesterday, and what its service could mean for marketers.

According to the article, the patent application describes a service called iGroups that would enable people to share geographic location data in order to connect using an iPhone or other mobile device. People who agree to join the network would be able to broadcast information in real-time through text and instant messaging and also share files, such as pictures or video.

People who don’t have iPhones could still use the service too. It’s not mentioned in the patent application, but it’s possible Apple’s MobileMe service could be used to add mobile phones without GPS to a group.

The application says, “Concert attendees in a group can be sent coupons to purchase music or other items related to the concert or invited to join a fan club of the performer, etc.”

Just because Apple filed the patent, doesn’t mean it will launch iGroups, and the company has a strict policy about not commenting on future products. But, there are signs Apple means business with this product. Last year it bought a mapping company called Placebase. And it has thwarted rival Google’s attempts to leverage the iPhone for location-based services – refusing to let Google offer Latitude, a Google Maps location-sharing service, thru the iTunes App Store. As a result, users can only access Latitude thru iPhone’s Safari Web browser.



What is Foursquare and Why Should Marketers Care About it?

Lately, there has been a lot of buzz in SEO and social media circles about Foursquare. For those of you who may not be aware of Foursquare, the company says it has quote, “Everything you ever wanted to know about your favorite, er, mobile + social + friend finder + social city guide + nightlife game thing.”    Got that?

In other words, it’s a geolocal networking application that allows users to connect with their friends, update location, and earn reward points using mobile devices.

Foursquare and Gowalla, a competing geolocal application based in Austin, TX, were the hot topics at last week’s South by South West Music & Media Conference. These up and coming services are very popular with people in their 20s who want to know where their friends are hanging out.

I did a test search to see what results came up for Orlando. The service delivered a list of places in Orlando, FL including Sea World, various hotels and the airport;’ a list of people named Orlando; and finally “tips and to-dos” from people about Orlando, FL. Here is a snapshot of the results I got:

Foursquare search results

So, why should marketers care about Foursquare and other geolocal services?  A recent New York Times article by David Carr pointed out that much larger companies are just now adding location awareness onto their existing applications. Twitter, with 50 million messages a day, introduced a location-awareness function during the SXSW conference, while Facebook, with more than 400 million users worldwide, will soon flip the switch for the 100 million or so users who update on smartphones.

Foursquare co-founder Dennis Crowley told Carr, “It doesn’t just have to be about where to get a good cup of coffee. It could be about a certain type of movie and then perhaps you’d get an offer of another movie in that category. Right now, we are focused on place because we have a small team, but eventually, we could support check-ins to anything. It’s really about experiences people have had.”

Carr says, “Logic suggests that the advertising possibilities enabled by knowing where someone is or what they have been watching at a given moment are profound. If the first movers gain users and the big boys come off the sidelines, what looks like a fetish object could end up being one more important tool in navigating physical and digital space. “

I wonder if Foursquare needs to broaden its base beyond twenty-somethings to compete with the likes of Facebook and Google (which just added a widget to its Latitude application that lets you see the location of nearby friends who have enabled the service).  It will be interesting to see what develops.