Guest Posts, Social Media Strategy, Social Media Marketing

6 Ways Web Check-ins Can Benefit Your Brand

Clinton Bonner  6 Ways Web Check ins Can Benefit Your BrandGuest post by Clinton Bonner, community connectivity expert, futurist, and blogger at Everything to Everything.

Whether it’s big players like Foursquare inking a new loyalty rewards program with Pepsi, or niche developers like Untappd, addressing the beer drinking vertical with a mobile application that let’s you spread the word about the particular brew you are sipping upon, check-ins are on fire.

web check ins 1 6 Ways Web Check ins Can Benefit Your BrandIn the interest of full disclosure, I work for a company with a new application called MOJO that provides free web-based check-ins. Instead of “checking in” at a restaurant or coffee shop via a mobile application, MOJO (and others) let you “check-in” to a particular piece of Web content (blog post, video, photo, graphical badge), and assign points and other rewards for an array of marketer-determined behaviors.

The Web side of the check-in space is far more interesting to me, and maybe it should be to you as well? Sure, Foursquare has 5 million users at last count, but as you read this sentence there are billions of Web users. That’s a colossal potential audience advantage for Web check-ins.

Here’s 6 more ways Web check-ins can benefit your brand:

My Blog is Alive!

OK, not literally, but perhaps adding gaming elements to your blog will bring it to life. While putting out consistent, high quality content is always going to be job number one, gamification of that content is a powerful way to boost engagement. And it’s a lot more than just giving out some badges. Badging for the sake of badging is wasteful and annoying. However, utilizing a gamification platform and putting forethought behind how your readers can earn points AND what those points actually mean to them can be powerful.

Use tried and true marketing tactics that generate healthy competition amongst your readers. Think about incentives and the ways in which you’d like the masses to engage with your content. Then apply Web Check-Ins, badging, and points to drive that engagement.

Loyalty

Though deal of the day sites like Geeks.com are springing up everywhere, I believe a longer view approach to loyalty can be achieved via Web check-ins. Instead of issuing someone you have no connection with a deal you barely break even on, why not slowly and continually reward those who actively engage your brand on the social web? Via Web Check-ins, you can incrementally reward your best social advocates who consistently read and share your content. Using levels to distinguish your best advocates and delivering hyper-specific discounts, coupons, and relevant offerings to the elite social sharers within your flock is a really smart way to cement that brand “luv”.

Tie Video to Written Content

If your brand is actively creating and publishing video content then you should be engaging Web check-ins to drive more views. At MOJO, we’re using an “Easter Egg” style secret code check-in within the video itself to ensure folks are engaging with the videos. You can go through your library of past video content, and annotate your videos with a “secret code” and the re-release them as part of the overall gamification program.

Of course any new videos you produce should carry an “Easter Egg” as well. As a suggestion, place the “secret” code 3/4 or more through the video.

A New Revenue Model

Imagine the apparel and sneaker brand New Balance having the ability to drop custom badges into the top 30 blogs that cover wellness, running, and fitness. Take it a step further and think about what happens when you, as a reader of one of these blogs, receives a 10% discount New Balance badge and you’re informed (right inside the badge itself) that if you LIKE New Balance on Facebook, the discount automatically doubles to 20%. This is a targeted, relevant, contextually appropriate promotional platform for brands, and a revenue sharing opportunity for publishers.

Link Link Link

It’s nice when bloggers or brands team up and run similar content across several sites. It’s fantastic for those who have the smaller audience of course, but there are big benefits (from an SEO and fresh eyeballs perspective) for all involved. Remember when Jay Baer (our C&C Overlord) recently participated in a 20+ blogger “Brand Haiku“? It was fun, comments were through the roof and I personally skipped around like a monkey-boy to a few other blogs I’ve never visited before. Lots of mutual wins in a program like that.

But, checking-In to the individual posts and getting prime sponsors to fork over some neat incentives for bouncing around the Internet could have made the impact even larger.

Drive the Social Actions You Covet

I mentioned above New Balance issuing a specific discount badge that auto nudges you to LIKE them on Facebook to receive a steeper discount. Tying strategic incentives to the social actions you desire can drive specific fan behavior such as Tweets with specific #hashtag use, Follows and Listing on Twitter, Likes & Shares on Facebook, blog comments and more.

People checking-in to your content is the beginning, driving secondary and tertiary actions that help your brand grow is where this gets powerful. Are you “buying” behaviors? Perhaps. But it’s no different (and definitely more effective) than buying those same behaviors with closed-loop contests and promotions than have no gaming elements or life span.

At MOJO we’re working on some of the above (and most of it already exists), ironing out some functionality and continually thinking about how gamification can be applied in new ways to drive what brands are after. Keep in mind if you are going to apply check-ins to your digital content, take the time it deserves and develop a plan. Design custom badges (it’s easy), understand the actions you are attempting to solicit, put the right incentives in place and above all else, continue producing amazing content – as that is both the vehicle and the fuel that will accelerate your brand.

(image from Shutterstock, a Convince & Convert sponsor)

Related
  • http://www.bradgosse.com/ Brad Gosse

    Mojo looks pretty cool. I’ve all but given up on physical check in because it presents a ridiculous personal security risk.

    I’m sure the data that your service starts pulling will be awesome for trend mining.

    • Anonymous

      Hey Brad, yeah, data is certainly something we desire here, no secret there right? We’re keeping the platform completely free because we want immense uptake … if we get proper uptake, it can balloon into a really hyper-relevant way to deliver specific badges, rewards, discounts while giving brands a way to get the social actions they want. We got some work to do to make it better, smoother, faster, smarter and all that, but we’re on it … any suggestions, always feel free to connect, we are listening! Thanks Brad!

  • http://www.jasonfpeck.com JasonPeck

    This sounds pretty interesting. From an email marketing perspective, we encourage our clients to reward subscribers with content/discounts related to pages of a website they visit, but adding game mechanics for visiting (or “checking in”) and completing specific actions is intriguing.

    • Anonymous

      thx Jason, any way I can help you or any brand you represent get a grip on how to make web check-ins go, please feel free to connect with me. The comment is VERY appreciated, Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  • http://twitter.com/LordPancreas Hugh Guiney

    These are good ideas, but unfortunately, it’s against Facebook’s Terms of Service to offer promotions in exchange for Likes: http://www.facebook.com/promotions_guidelines.php

    • http://www.convinceandconvert.com jaybaer

      I don’t believe giving people stuff for “likes” is what Clinton is proposing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chrisjtheisen Chris Theisen

        I think what Hugh means is its not legal to add to the discount code because someone liked you. There are ways to get around it but technically Hugh is right I believe. One of the ways around it is to be Lowes and just drive so much traffic that you blatantly break the rules and its ok.

        • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

          It’s legal. Under section 2.1 “You may require that an entrant like a Page, check in to a Place, or connect to your Platform integration before providing their full entry information for a promotion. ” It’s against their policy for you to run a promotion by having people post things to their wall and such. Einstein bagels has run several very successful campaigns where you get a free bagel or something similar for liking them and it’s completely legal.

          Facebook wants to distance themselves from responsibility and that’s why they say in section 1 “You will not administer a promotion through Facebook, except through an application on the Facebook Platform. Administration includes operation of any element of the promotion, such as collecting entries, conducting a drawing, judging entries, or notifying winners.” So if you use Mojo to administer the discount for liking a fan page then you are 100% in the clear. You’re using an app per section 1, and providing something for liking as allowed in section 2.1

  • Rekha

    cool article, you might also be interested by http://gamification.org

  • http://www.zmags.com/blog Christina Pappas

    Send me updates on MOJO please! I am always trying to instill a give/take relationship with my readers, fans and followers. I know its a commitment to write a comment and its much easier to hit the Retweet button, but I enjoy generating a discussion based on a topic we discussed in a post.

    There are a lot of interesting ideas here and I am still trying to figure out how to leverage Facebook and build a page that not only am I proud of, but one that I actually want to drive traffic to. I have seen the thumbs up and thumbs down on blog comments and also a way to ‘like’ comments left on blogs. Looks like your company is taking it to the next level.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Christina, thx so much, feel free to connect http://about.me/clintonbonner or @clintonbon … would be happy to discuss where we are taking MOJO.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisjtheisen Chris Theisen

    What are your thoughts on Get Glue? Is MOJO similar? It seems to me people are tiring of listening to others who over share. Any thoughts on the sharing curve and what part of it we are in?

    • Anonymous

      Hi Chris, thx for the great question. I like Get Glue, but often the “I just checked-in to Black Ops on my PS3″ … doesn’t really do much for me ya know? Most times when I see those on FB, they are usually not commented upon because I do think we’re beginning to ignore it to some extent. MOJO is about 2 things: driving the meaningful metrics to brands/bloggers on their sites – pageviews, time per visit etc … AND using light gamification to assuage the social action you’d like to receive from the user. Admins can track who their biggest social advocates are and who the biggest influencers are too (and are they they same?) and reward accordingly. We’re working on some deeper metrics as we speak.

      But I agree, over sharing of something banal doesn’t wow anyone and it’s up to the owners of MOJO accounts to really make the rewards super sticky. Imagine a gaming community and sponsored badges coming in from Activision that rewarded top participants the opportunity to test out their new game weeks before an official release. That kind of specificity brings meaning and with that probably comes quality micro-content in the forms of tweets, posts, etc … that people will comment and buzz about. Happier readers/users, happier content creators/blog/site owners, happier brands all to willing to place sponsored badges in little pockets of focused goodness perfect for their product.

      We got some work to do, but we think we can get there! Thanks for the really thoughtful question Chris … feel free to connect @Clintonbon btw … thx.

  • http://www.wickedinnovations.com/ Jeorge Peter

    Mojo is cool, imagine instead of checking in at a restaurant via a mobile application it lets you “check-in” to a Web content

  • letstalkandchat

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