Location-based Social Media for Good

While reading the Boston Sunday Globe, I was struck by an article about the lack of maps of the handicapped parking spaces in Boston and Cambridge.  Anything location-oriented seems like a problem that could be solved by one of the location-based social media tools.  Hey, SCVNGR or FourSquare — what do you think?  I would think you could enlist your users to mark all those spots and offer a digital map.  Show us you are about more than just games.

Meanwhile, while doing some holiday shopping with my kids, we uncovered the great disconnect between marketing and the retail front lines.  While in Barnes & Noble, we checked in on FourSquare and noticed a special — $1 off any of 24 CDs from the FourSquare display in the music department.  Since we were there with a mission – buy Daddy, the musician, a present — this sounded pretty good.  Except, where’s that pesky FourSquare display?  Nowhere to be seen.  Ask a clerk.  Hmm, what’s FourSquare?  Ask a manager.  Hmm, never heard of it.  Sorry.

  • If you are running a promotion on any of the social media platforms, remember to inform your front lines.  They are going to be dealing directly with your customers.
  • Consider not introducing new promotional tools during the busy holiday shopping season.  (Or any other time the store staff is going to be pressed for time.)
  • Empower your staff to substitute another similar offer — I was a little surprised we weren’t offered that dollar off on any other CD.  (That would have gone a long way to keeping a potentially disgruntled customer happy.  I wasn’t disgruntled, more bemused.)

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen a nice promotion go up in flames because only marketing knew about a marketing program.