Start-up Helps Local Businesses Stalk Their Customers on Social Media

Social media savvy peeps love broadcasting where they are and what they’re doing through status messages and photos. So far, local businesses have tried to tap into this location-data-love-fest by posting signs in their windows with social media logos begging customers to friend and follow them. Most of us laugh at that. No, local coffee shop, I don’t want to subscribe to your tweets; I just want my chai tea latte. No, local hair salon, I like what you do with my bangs, but I don’t want to be your Facebook fan.

A New York-based start-up wants to help businesses more effectively and organically harness the social media buzz. Newly launched Local Response, which earned high praise from the New York Times andTechCrunch, sucks up location information from lots o’ social media outlets — including photo sites by tapping into embedded geo-data in digital photos — to reveal whether a user has been to a particular business:

LocalResponse gathers data in two ways. First, it skims Twitter for public check-ins published to the site from a bevy of location-based mobile services like Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp that can be integrated with Twitter. But those posts make up only about 5 percent of the site’s data, Mr. Mehta said. The rest is pulled from social media services like Instagram, Path, Color, Yelp, Foodspotting and the like, as well as Twitter posts that have been analyzed using natural-language processing to discern what companies and businesses people are chatting about.

via LocalResponse Taps the Social Web to Help Businesses Draw Customers – NYTimes.com.

The site’s been running in beta for six months, aggregating visitor data for 2,000 customers. You can enter a business name on the Local Response website and get a visual list of how many people have broadcast their visits there, along with thumbnail images of the visitors from their social media account.

Then the site makes it easy to harass entice those customers to return:

 

Not only does Local Response track all of this data but it allows businesses to respond to these Tweets and messages with a marketing campaign, coupon or advertisement. So Shake Shack could send a Tweet back to someone who had just snapped a photo of a burger with a link to a 10 percent off coupon on the next visit. The actual page will feature a logo of the establishment, the original Tweet sent by the consumer, the Tweet send back by the business and the promotion or coupon. Local Response has actually creates a number of canned responses which businesses can automatically send.

via Buzzd Rebrands As Local Response; Debuts Social Customer Management Tool For Businesses.

The site is free to businesses for approximately the first 100 messages sent to customers, then kicks into a monthly subscription fee for any amount over that.

I kid about the stalking. If customers are publicly broadcasting their whereabouts, it makes sense to take advantage of that in a direct way, rather than conspicuously floating location-aware ads on their phone browsers. Of course, if every business I visit starts tweeting me afterward to come back, I’m going to get annoyed by the Twitter spam fast. Realizing this, the company is capping the number of times a business can contact a customer through their service, as well as offering people the right to opt-out.

All in all, it’s a clever idea, and with $1.5 million in funding from Verizon Ventures, Charles River Ventures, and Metamorphic, it’s got a promising future ahead. As for getting non-geo-promiscuous customers to keep coming back, I guess businesses will have to keep up the ole put-your-business-card-in-the-fish-bowl-to-win-free-stuff trick.

Continue reading: http://blogs.forbes.com/kashmirhill/2011/04/19/new-start-up-helps-local-businesses-stalk-their-customers-on-social-media/?partner=yahootix

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