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November 5th, 2010

Checking In on Check In Numbers

All of us, I’m guessing, are working on some sort of plan that involves check-ins. Either something is already being executed, there are plans that awaiting approval or there’s a PowerPoint deck on your hard drive with a couple ideas that have occurred to you just waiting to be brought to completion.

If you measured actual usage of these services based on the amount of digital ink spilled covering them you’d come away with the conclusion everyone and their neighbor was angling to be the mayor of the local coffee shop or sharing a tip about the nail salon in the next town over.

According to Pew, though, only four percent of U.S. adults are getting in on the check-in game.

No, I’m not going to say that means you’re off the hook and don’t need to worry about making this part of your game plan. Even if you’re not a retailer with physical stores there are plenty of non-location based services that should be explored, especially in the entertainment media space.

As Doug Haslam points out on his own blog, these numbers are not only similar to what Twitter’s user base was pegged at a year and a half ago, but that was actually much longer after Twitter was launched. Doug points out rightly that it’s kind of unfair and bordering on ridiculous to label location-based services a failure so early in their lifecycle.

But instead of worrying about specific strategies around check-ins, what instead needs to be focused on is how those services fit in to your social sharing strategy.

After all, check-ins are just another form of signaling interest/action/affiliation, just as “Liking” a brand on Facebook or Tweeting an article from a blog or website. The desire to show off what we’re doing is part of what’s driving adoption of Facebook Connect and other tools that make sharing as easily as possible.

Just as “blogging” really is just a portion of an overall online content strategy, check-ins need to be a portion of that overall sharing strategy. What are you doing for those who like you on Facebook, who connect with you on Twitter, who participate in your forum discussions? All of it folds into a single cohesive – and measurable – strategy that isn’t dependent on one platform or another since those that are popular today may not be so much in six months.

Better to know the answer to “Why are we doing this?” as a whole as opposed to needing to reinvent the wheel every time a new service pops up or one of the current offerings falls by the wayside.

About the Author
Chris Thilk works on the Client Services team, part of Voce Connect, developing and executing social media strategy. You can follow him at @christhilk on Twitter.

Filed in Location-Based Services

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