Gowalla integrates with Foursquare

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Location based social network Gowalla recently (Nov. 2010) made it possible for users to share their check-in status with their Foursquare friends, in addition to Facebook and Twitter followers. By integrating with Foursquare, Gowalla has placed itself in a unique position. For people who enjoy sharing information (like myself) this makes me very happy. Most importantly this move is going to greatly  (if it hasn’t already) increase the number of active Gowalla users and potentially stunt growth within Foursquares user base.

For the person who likes to share information and update people regularly this is a big deal. I used to use Foursquare every day, I had a Gowalla app, but never cared to try it out. As of today, I’ll be using Gowalla from here on out! It’s all about simplicity for the end-user. Now, not everyone is as excited about this move or even cares that it happened. Some people will naturally stay with Foursquare, but why? Now, you’re check in will appear in two places at once!

What does this mean for small businesses? It’s time to learn! If you’re a business owner regardless of your location or size you need to strongly consider engaging consumers using location-based marketing techniques. Consumers who are using Foursquare already have an established list of friends who can view their whereabouts. Now, Gowalla has invited consumers to their platform while allowing all Gowalla users to keep in touch with and update their Foursquare friends. With the  number of smartphone users on the rise small business owners are faced with a difficult decision. Accept the fact that consumers are spending more time online than watching TV or reading the newspaper. It’s time to join or get left behind. Get educated and help yourself and your business grow. Think about how your business might succeed with mobile marketing and location based services. After all with the rise in smartphone users consumers are searching the internet more and more, but will they find you or your competition?

What do you think about Gowalla’s Foursquare integration? Do you like the idea? Would (do) you use Gowalla’s Foursquare integration, why?


Small Business Social Media Mistakes

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To start small business owners must first realize that anything you do within the social media space requires 100% dedication from YOU and careful planning. Learn from the mistakes of others. Despite it’s rapid growth social media is still in its infancy. If you are considering venturing into the social media space there are a few experiences I will share with you with the hope that you will learn from them.

If you have already created a Facebook Fan Page because everyone else is doing it, fine, but remember it doesn’t matter how many ‘likes’ or fans you have – it’s the quality and engagement of all the people who ‘like’ your page. OK now lets take a step back. Regardless if you have a social media presence ask yourself, why am I dedicating the time? What is my purpose for having a ______ (Facebook Fan Page, Twitter handle, blog etc.).  You really need to examine and then re-examine your current business model because social media whether you like it or not will be a responsibility for all your employees at one time or another and it’s your job to make sure they’re prepared to answer the question or respond to a comment.

In summary, before YOU create and start posting to your social account (Facebook Page, Twitter handle, Blog) take a step back and understand your reasoning for jumping in. Set micro goals for you (and your employees) to achieve on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Remember social media take time, so be patient, don’t rush to have a social presence if you don’t know why you want one.

Finally, as a small business owner, don’t think that you won’t have to dedicate any of your time to writing and updating content. It’s all about YOUR experience and people have formed a relationship with you over time. They will listen to you if you write and share your experience. Your minimum requirement is to update your company blog weekly (minimum!). Don’t try and hire a virtual assistant because it is NOT effective. You can’t just hand off social media to someone and expect them to do a good job. What if they don’t know anything about your industry, products, or services? Now what? This is why YOU the person with the experience needs to be writing the blog posts and educating consumers. This will convey your committed and openly passionate about your business.

As always please share you experiences in the comment section below!

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