Can Location-Based Services Help With Member Engagement? (Idea 3 of 10)

cellphone with mapTo check-in or not to check-in that is the question. What am I talking about? Well, location-based mobile social networking applications of course! You know those occasionally informative status updates you see in your Facebook and Twitter feeds that tell exactly where Charles is eating lunch right now. I don’t know about you but my initial reaction is usually to think about that location and what it’s all about. Are the taco’s really all that at Gerald Dean’s Taco’s? Hmm, Sally keeps checking-in to the local Y…I really need to get back into an exercise routine. See where I’m going with this? Check in’s to your organization’s establishment can help with members engagement!

This post is part of the 10 Ways to Engage Your Members with Technology

While it’s been argued that location-based services are all hype, the trend is definitely burgeoning. Apparently Foursquare grew 3400% in 2010. Facebook’s track record of adding new features is questionable at worst, genius at best, and they decided to make their Facebook Places feature a first-class citizen in their mobile presence. Surprisingly, (or not to those that follow Google’s social objectives) the latest entrant into the location-based services space is Google. With their newest application Latitude, Google is claiming the capability for 10 million users to check in to specific locations with Google Maps on mobile devices. That’s big. But check in to this (pun intended, sorry)…Google also has a feature that gives users the ability to recieve notifications as a reminder to check in when you arrive at a location. I’m going to repeat that.

Google has added the ability to receive notifications as a reminder to check in when you arrive at location.

Imagine that everytime someone comes into your YMCA, nonprofit headquarters, church or school, their phone buzzes to remind them to check in to your location. What happens?

  1. They acknowledge the importance of being at your facility.
  2. The checkin publishes to Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
  3. Those people’s social networks see the check in with a map to your facility.
  4. LOTS of people think about your organization.
  5. More people learn about your organization and member engagement increases!

This doesn’t seem like  stretch to me. So how do you make this happen? I think it’s pretty simple…

Encourage your members, people, volunteers, constiuents to check in to your location. That is all. Now how you do that is up to you.

  • Send them an email.
  • Post it in a newsletter.
  • Put a sign in the foyer.
  • Tell your twitter followers to check in and post it on your Facebook Page.

I think the only question left, is how to explain what this even means to the 2/3 of folks that walk through your door and have no idea what location-based services are. Perhaps you have some thoughts on that and can leave some ideas below.