Remember the days when word of mouth advertising meant sharing personal and professional tips in real time communication with neighbors and friends? Those times of the 20th century have quickly passed us by, and today’s virtual environment has been focusing more and more on massive social media in which people interact via the Internet in a way that influences purchasing more than ever. Take for example the site Foursquare, a relatively new method for sharing with friends, colleagues and family where an individual is at a particular moment. If you haven’t signed up for an account at the social media giant yet, it represents a way to relay information not only on your whereabouts in real time, but also acts as a way to indicate which purchases are being made; everything from the mechanic you use to service a vehicle to baby sitting services.
When it comes to online reputation management, few websites do a better job at revealing real time preferences than Foursquare. This is due to modules that provide users with the ability to make automatic check-ins that can be repeated (complete with statistics) at the user’s leisure. Are you taking the kids out for a pizza night? Or perhaps shopping for a new pair of shoes? Those who follow your personalized feed can quickly gain information on where you’re currently shopping just by checking out the places you frequent.
By using maps to pinpoint a customer’s location, followers can often be drawn to using the same services when deciding on which locals to go to when they have similar needs that relate to those of their online friends. On top of that, new features such as being able to check-in your own friends saves time and encourages users to connect and share information when they happen to be at the same location. Instead of you and your acquaintance both pulling out a mobile device and checking in separately, the tools that come with Foursquare now allow you to check your own friends in for events that range from a birthday party to a night out on the town.
There are also modules that let users visualize places they’ve visited in the past by highlighting dots on a zoomed-out map along with enhanced opportunities for companies to use sites such as Foursquare to show customers which courses are being attended and the places of interest that could potentially boost sales.
Reputation Management Via Social Media
Many of us have learned that a firm’s reputation can often be managed via social media; especially for small businesses in cases where news items seldom hit the media airwaves. Want to inform clients on where your staff is attending a meeting without having it come off as a full fledged press release? If you have enough followers, then posting detailed info on sites such as Foursquare can help get the word out in an efficient manner. Individuals who have similar tastes in clothing, television shows and more can often share ideas on what they want to spend their free time on without having to use the traditional word of mouth method that has quickly become inconvenient in today’s on-the-go society.
Best of all, entering data via a smart phone or tablet computer has become easier than ever thanks to innovations in social media websites that even allow some firms to offer discounts to clients who happen to be checking-in with a site such as Foursquare. In the very near future, it could very well be commonplace for a shopper to receive a significant discount at a retailer by simply checking-in and sharing his/her location with friends and followers.
In today’s virtual environment, word of mouth marketing is something that all companies should consider when thinking about how to best manage one’s reputation.
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