A few months ago, an article from Inman tried to put a positive spin on the fact than one in five people with smartphones use them to check into geosocial services, such as Foursquare and SCVNGR. It sounds like a good statistic until a percentage is distilled from those numbers: twenty percent. Twenty percent of people with smartphones use them to check into locations.
More recently, Mashable argued that checking in is the least popular activity of smartphone users. The argument relies on a snippet of data taken from The Pew Research Center. The problem with that argument is that it rests upon data collected and published last year. That means that Mashable’s data actually is older than the data used in the Inman article.
The “spin” in both articles isn’t surprising. Both were trying to convince their readers of a fact or to provoke a response. What neither can refute is that geosocial services are relatively new players in the social media realm. They’ve gained popularity with early adopters, but it’s going to take some time before they gain momentum with a broader audience base.
That fact may make some businesses leery of testing a geosocial service. It shouldn’t. As long as businesses consider their goals and strategies and develop an execution plan before implementing a geosocial component, they don’t need to worry. If they know that their target audience enjoys or could enjoy checking in or the gamification aspect of geosocial services, they should begin to see success – measurable success – with their endeavors. Of course, those endeavors, like any other social media ones, require time and commitment. It isn’t enough to create a business profile on Foursquare or SCVNGR. Businesses have to be active on those channels. They have to communicate. They have to engage. They have to provide value to their audience.
What are your thoughts about geosocial services? Do you check in? Why?