Tag Archives: social networks

Where’s Your Passion?


In a recent meeting with an entrepreneur where we were talking about online marketing activities and building his business, I asked the question, “What are you passionate about?”

His answer…”Wow, let me think about that, that’s a great question.”

Besides the obvious ones of his wife, his child, his extended family, his friends, his favorite sports team, or his church, my question to this entrepreneur really caused him to pause and think.

The word passion can have so many meanings but let’s take the definitions that really apply here:

  1. any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate
  2. a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything (i.e. a passion for music).

What led to this question was a discussion about whether online marketing had much of an application for his business.  As a group of highly educated professionals performing financial services, most if not all of their clientele come to them as a result of a referral.  Word of mouth was their key marketing strategy and there really wasn’t much of a need for him to put any real effort into improving his online visibility or reputation.  Blogging, social networks, search visibility are all good things, just for other people, not him.

You may be asking, David, what was his answer, what was he passionate about?

After some thought he said that he was passionate about helping people, and helping them to be more financially independent, so they can do what they really love to do, whatever that is, without worrying about money.

My next question was, “Do you like to write?” He said he does and that it has been a goal of his for some time to write a book.  Well, a book is a pretty big undertaking and maybe he could break that down into smaller pieces by writing short snippets, ideas that will help people or….a blog.

I did actually see a light bulb appear over his head.  He got it. A good friend of his had tried to convince him he needed to blog but had not explained it in exactly this way.

Write about what you’re really passionate about, not because it’s a great way to market yourself (even though it is) but just because you love to help people.  He left the meeting with much to think about.

In this world, those people who find their passion, what they really love, will be the ones that tell you that their work never really seems like work; that their success has been because they immerse themselves so completely in what they love and hence become very good at it.

Engaging in this phenomenon called social media requires time, effort and then some more time if you wish it to be successful.  Having a passion for what you are blogging, tweeting, friending, responding to will help you to stick with it.  Because, there are very few overnight wonders in social media.  Mostly there are people who have a passion for what they do and have been engaged long enough to start to see the great positive results that can be achieved.

What are you passionate about?

I’d love to know.


Foursquare.com Ain’t Square, It’s Cool


In one of my previous posts “Put The Local in Your Locale” I mentioned a relatively new social network called Foursquare.com.  I thought it had some real potential but unfortunately they were not in the Kansas City area.  After writing to them about my wish that they be here, my request was granted.  I just received word that along with several other cities, Kansas City is now on the map!

This kind of geo-targeted social network has real potential for those of you marketing to a consumer who is likely to purchase at your location.

Here are some of the features of Foursquare.com and then I would like to explore some potential applications to help you determine if it’s right for you.

Members of Foursquare.com check-in by logging onto the site from there mobile phone and letting their friends know where they are so they can come to that location.  Foursquare.com will also offer other locations nearby that may be places of interest to members.  Currently there are applications for IPhones and Android phones with a Blackberry application in the works.  There are also nice links to Twitter and Facebook.

Members have the ability to make recommendations of things to buy or enjoy at certain locations and Foursquare.com tracks how many times members frequent a particular location, based on the number of times they check-in.  Points are awarded for check-ins as well as bonus points for dragging friends along with you.  As points accumulate, badges can be unlocked, with the ultimate badge award being classified as a “mayor.”  Businesses can offer “mayors” certain privileges or freebies to entice them to come in as well as encouraging them to bring their network of friends.

Additional applications are being developed by Foursquare.com which includes an Inbound Ticketing system and a customer conversation community called “Get Satisfaction.”  For businesses that wish to actively participate there are plans available from $19 to $899 per month depending on reports, tracking, mayor offers and customization that is desired.

Applications for Foursquare.com

  • The obvious are restaurants and bars – mayors can be offered free drinks or appetizers once they check-in. Friends of mayors get special recognition. Weekly specials can be promoted through their customized site.
  • Museums – special shows and artists can be promoted and people can join as “friends of the museum.”
  • Sporting Events – not only can the events be promoted but businesses close by can benefit from online promotions to Foursquare.com members.
  • Non-profit Fundraising events – what a great way to encourage participation to those members who have a social awareness.  Mayors can receive special recognition by attracting the highest number of friends who also attend.  Companies that belong  to Foursquare.com receive some public relations exposure by being associated with a cause.
  • Gyms – hey it’s cool to be working out and even cooler when you can tell your network exactly where you are.
  • Bowling Alleys – Mayors that bring in a whole team can receive free food, drinks or a game.
  • Retail Outlets – clothing boutiques can take on an online personality and promote sales and specials. Foursquare.com members can talk about what they like about your place.

These are just a few potential applications.  I’m sure many of you can come up with several of your own.  That’s the beauty of this kind of network, it is really only limited by your imagination.

If you need to drive in-store sales, don’t be square and lose out on a great new marketing tool because Foursquare.com is very cool.

Let me know what thoughts you have.



Put the “Local” in Your Locale


Times are definitely tough, despite what Bernanke may say about the recession.  Squeezing the absolute most efficiency out of every marketing dollar spent has never been more important.  More and more lately my conversations with business owners have turned to what tried and true marketing efforts that they always relied upon in the past that are now starting to provide lackluster results at best.  For businesses whose customers come from a geographically local area, this concern comes in the form of, “my Yellow pages and local newspaper ads don’t seem to work anymore.”  These bright entrepreneurs have even dabbled some with Twitter and Facebook but are finding that these social networks are not providing the kind of local targeting that they need.  They’re a bit exasperated as to what to do.

Welcome LBS or Location-based Social Networking.  This is the true marriage of GPS services with traditional forms of social networks thereby giving the added benefit for the people who you are connected with being able to locate where you are at any given time.

The true viral potential of social networks can really come to play in LBS if your business is truly local and relies upon people coming to your location and buying offline.  Once you have become known, the people that like you and visit you tell their friends who want to join in the fun and they tell their friends and so on and so on.  The possibilities are really endless.

Jennifer Van Grove in her article Beyond Yelp: Location-based Opportunities for Vendors, talks about two relatively new LBS based social network sites that are starting to get some real traction, particularly on the coasts.

I decided I would take a look at three social networks: http://yelp.com http://foursquare.com and http://brightkite.com to get my own take to see what potential there might be for local businesses.  Keep in mind that there are constant suggestions and improvements being made to each of these properties so my opinions may become quickly dated.  I also look at things from a strict marketing potential, not as much from the standpoint of whether I would engage in these on a personal basis.


Yelp is kind of the grand daddy of LBS with a very successful track record.  It is a very robust property and would be appropriate for probably the broadest spectrum of businesses from dentists and doctors, to beauty salons and spas, to bars and restaurants.  Its twist is that users can provide reviews both positive and negative as well as providing lists of places that they frequent.  There are nice ties into Twitter and Facebook and profiles can be customized with pictures and personal information.  Keep in mind that anyone that is added as a friend or any review provided can be seen by anyone in the world, whether they belong to Yelp or not.  The really nice thing about Yelp is the use of interactive maps for locations, much like Google maps.


Foursquare uses the very creative concept of “checking in” once the member arrives at a location, thereby letting their network know where they are.  The unique aspect is the ability to build up check-in points with the ultimate goal of earning the badge of “mayor” of a particular location due to the number of times you visit the place.  For the marketer, this becomes the opportunity to provide free drinks or coupons for any mayor that checks into your shop.  This encourages them to notify their network of where they are.  As with Yelp, there are nice ties into Twitter and Facebook and lots of help for API developers.  There is even an IPhone application.  The drawback here is that Foursquare is not in every city.  As of the writing of this post I requested information as to when they would be in Kansas City.


Of the three, I felt like Brightkite has the farthest to go.  Yes it connects people locally and it is location based and yes it has nice ties into Twitter and Facebook, but I just couldn’t see the “thing” it brings.  What makes Brightkite special?  One distinct advantage over Foursquare is that Brightkite is available in more locations.

With all of these properties I would advise getting into them and experimenting some.  Perhaps with another post, I can talk about ways in which a business would promote themselves, to get better visibility on these LBS networks.

The bottom line is that many many people are using the smart phones to find friends, places to eat, recommendations for good doctors and places to shop and they want them to be local and findable.

Is your locale local?  If it is, then you need to understand location-based social networking.

All my best,