Facebook Places…is this goodbye to Foursquare? Not Quite

I may be a week or 2 late on this post, but I thought it’d be better to wait and do my review of Facebook Places until after I had some time to experiment.

Location based apps are becoming the “it” trend for social media, especially those that have gone mobile like the ever so popular Foursquare, Twitter Places, and now Facebook Places? Facebook, being hands down the number one social media network would obviously feel the need to once again take their platform a step further and expand into the location based spectrum of social media. But was this necessarily a good idea and will it catch on? Could it replace the rapidly growing popularity of Foursquare?

Facebbok Places and Foursquare LogoFacebook Places logo (Left) Foursquare (Right)

So, here’s the dealio:

Facebook places is an app that brings geo-location to Facebook users with smartphones. As of now the feature is only available on the IPhone, but a future release (although that date is not confirmed) is planning for the Android and Blackberry. Once you have accessed places you are asked for permission to share you location, which is a good feature adding extra privacy. From here you enter the places page and can share you whereabouts with friends. Places gives you the ability to add places that don’t already exist on the places platform and tag you and your friends in places as well and check in as a group. So from that standpoint Places is pretty nifty.

Facebook Places has stirred up several privacy concers. Like I said above friends can tag you in a check-in, meaning that you do not have control over this appearing in newsfeed and on your profile, which by default it will. When you check in your location is automatically visible to your friends and everyone nearby. However, both these issues can be addressed by opting out of them and changing your customized privacy settings. It just takes a little extra work.

Places has a useful feature where it allows users to report incorrect places, spam, disturbing behavior, or duplication and will flag the reports which will then be looked over and possibly even removed permanently.

All in all, Facebook Places has its kinks to still work out, and definitely doesn’t have as much of an accessible mobile base like Foursquare (as Foursquare is already available on several mobile devices) but it does have the advantage that it appeals to the massive audience that Facebook has already captured. If people are loyal to Facebook, then Places may very well take off. The Facebook Places network is larger as well, where with Foursquare your network only includes those people who you have friended or who have friended you.

A Quick Guide to Help You Choose Facebook Places or Foursquare

Facebook Places:

  • A map and direction features.
  • The ability to see where your friends are, check in with them, and tag your friends in a location with you
  • A way to share their location with all their Facebook friends

Foursquare:

  • A gaming experience that allows the user to become the ‘mayor’ of a location, earn badges, and points
  • A way to leave tips for their friends in regards to a location and to see where their friends are at that moment.
  • A way to detect what businesses are nearby and if they are offering any cool discounts for being a customer

Well there you have it. More to come as I continue to follow the Facebook Places vs. Foursquare face off.

For my MSU Social Media Drivers License class I was tasked with designing a mock online Google Adwords Campaign.

As the largest university-based credit union in the world and the leading banking institution for MSU students, it is important for you, the MSU Federal Credit Union, to utilize the most effective and cost efficient means of advertising to reach your diverse and rapidly growing member base.

Over the past few years there has been a consistent and rapid growth in the use of online advertising, contributing to some of the most successful and well known campaigns to date. With the ability to provide a cost effective, maximum exposure campaign, with a variety of advertising approaches and the ability to target a specific audience, online advertising is an effective approach in reaching the Spartan community.

THE MSUFCU SERVICE: You have been successfully serving the MSU community since 1937, with a membership base of over 153,000 today. From loans to free checking accounts, and credit card options, MSFCU is continuously dedicate to providing quality service to help members make the most of their college experience and beyond.

YOUR TARGET: The majority of your target lies in current MSU students, ages 18-22, followed by incoming freshman and MSU graduates/alumni.  It is important to heavily target the prospective MSU and incoming students, as they have the potential to provide the majority of your yearly growth. The ease and ability to access and monitor their money is a powerful contributing factor in making that final college decision. Targeting recent graduates is important as well. As many look to move away from the East Lansing college scene, they need to be reminded that MSUFCU is there to continue helping them on their journey into the real world. Keeping in mind that much of your target consists of college students, the campaign will be more successful if information is presented in a way that they can relate to by minimizing lengthy jargon.

It is also important to realize the potential disadvantage you could face: A percent of students coming into MSU have banking accounts back at home with branches available to them in the East Lansing area. Although you are the number one bank in East Lansing, you are still competing against those banks with a loyal follower base of students who intend to keep the same banking institution as they had back home. Your online campaign will need to stand out and draw in this percent of incoming students by showing them how MSUFCU is the better, more convenient choice for them.

YOUR CAMPAIGN APPROACH: Google Adwords is an online approach that could greatly bnefit your online presence as it would increase traffic to your website, therefore increasing traffic to your site and resulting in increased membership.

Google Adwords is a Google marketing tool that marketers and advertisers utilie to launch their product or service intot he online public sphere.  Google Adwords is pay per click based meaning you only pay when a customer visits your website, making the tool cost efficient. Adwords has the ability to deliver the most relevant content for your brand in minimum time and will even reward you for the most relevant ad for any search term.

YOUR KEYWORDS: The following keywords were chosen for MSUFCU’s Online Adword Campaign based on results from the Google Search-based Keywords Tool and Google Insights. Selection was based on the best and most searched keywords to match your industry.

1. Student Bank Accounts  2. Best student bank account  3. MSUFCU Login  4. MSUFCU  5. Federal Credit Union in       Michigan

YOUR CREATIVE: AD COPY

Target: Current MSU Students

1. MSUFCU…helping you live like a Spartan

2. Combining your Spartan spirit and all your banking needs. Go Green. Go White. Go MSUFCU

Target: Potential MSU Students

1. Your Spartan journey begins with the MSU Credit Union. Learn more now!

2. Choosing MSU was a no brainer. Choosing a student bank should be too. Join MSUFCU today. The Choice is simple

Target: MSU Alumni

1. A Spratan for life. MSUFCU for life. Discover our Alumni options

2. From eager freshman to Corporate VP, MSUFCU is with you all the way.

MEASUREMENT:

Your Google Adwords campaign will be easy to manage and track results. You will be provided with a user friendly marketing management system that measures based on number of visits, cost per visitor, and cost per campaign. Finally, traditional advertising can take week to get a campaign up and running, but with Google Adwords your campaign is produced and running in under an hour. Google Adwords will not only direct people immediately to your site, but will also put out ads on the side of the Google search engine results to direct people to their specific need of your service. Keeping all the benefits of Adwords in mind, it would be extremely beneficial for you to utilie this wonderful tool and reap the benefits of the results.

Hit a Homerun with Online Video Marketing

It is no secret that viewing online videos has been a constant trend espeically with the creation of today’s most dominant online video host YouTube. Whether its watching silly videos of that turkey on a snowboard, or re-watching clips from last night’s MSU basketball win, people are watching online video daily, in fact for some it has even become an obsession (I’m one of the obesessed ones). With the ongoing popularity on online videos it is no surprise that social media and marketing efforts have snuck into the online video world. I mean why not? Millions of people are on YouTube, Vimeo, and UStream as I am writing this, so if a brand wanted to turn to online video to market themselves they have just as much potential to reach thousands of users just like that video of the turkey on a snowboard.

Valentina Trevino, a young artist from Chicago, is largely responsible for and at the forefront of online video marketing. With almost 50,000 subscribers to date, Val has created her very onw YouTube channel, Val’s Art Diary, to market her artwork which she sells on ebay and on her very own website. Her innovative approach to marketing herself and utilizing social media gained her recognition on The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Val creates weekly videos where she tells stories or discusses a topic, about her love for art or the secret ingredient in her tea, and ends the video with a brief summary about her latest piece of artwork. She lets her personality show through a balanced mix of colorful banter and comedy. Her videos average about 30,000 views each and have attributed to the ongoing success of sales of her artwork. Another success factor that I think is important to point out, as I found watching her videos, is that she does a really good job of involving her viewers. For example, in one video she mentioned a facebook contest that was coming on via her facebook page and offered a brand new Ipod Touch to the winner. What a great way to draw people in.

With the enormous online presence that most companies have today, it is important to set yourself apart from others; make yourself unique and interesting in some way. I think with the dominance that online video has in the social media realm, utilizing online video to market yourself or your brand is a creative approach to standing out. Video Marketing is a booming method for attracting customers, relaying information, creating a buzz about your brand and ensuring a high pass along rate. Video has the ability to catch the consumers eye, draw them into viewing, hold their attention and create the curiousity. When I was viewing Val’s videos, at the same time I was on her website checking out her work because I was curious to learn more. Video marketing has the power to increase brand awareness due to the ability to view over and over, as well as increase favorability, message association, and intent to purchase. I think video marketing creates emotion in the viewer, emotional or motivational, and calling them to take further action. Overall, I think video marketing could someday be more successful then print ads because it’s always more effective to see the human interaction then a bunch or words on paper. I think alot of brands could benefit from online videos and one way could be through consumer testimonials of a product or service. Seeing a positive interaction with a brand from someone like yourself is more effective then telling. The testimonals could take on a funny or serious manner and have the potential to be highly creative.

Finally, I think UStream is a really cool concept that individuals or brands should consider tapping into. UStream is a live streaming video host. Personally, I think it is more entertaining and personable to see a video in its raw form…it makes everything seem a little more human and relatable.

Do I think online video is a good idea? YES, and I think it has great potential to becoming the new trend in online marketing.

Here’s a video I found that helped explain the benefits of online video and how to get started.