Internet mobile and the social networks: the question is, Where?

Access to Internet via mobile phones continues rising throughout the world. There are now seven mobile phones for every ten people according to figures from the International Telecommunications Union. This is equivalent to 5,000 million lines for a world population of close to 7,000 million people. The other relevant fact is that 27% of these mobile phones are smartphones.

In this context, with 1,300 million phones with the capacity to connect to the Internet, we shouldn’t be surprised by the rise of geolocation or georeferencing platforms. Foursquare was first off the mark. Later the big companies joined in: Google (with its Places application), Twitter Places and Facebook. Intended for a user connected in time and space, these tools are winning more fans day by day.

To the list of classic questions which we are asked on the social networks (“What’s on your mind?” on Facebook, or “What are you thinking?” on Twitter) these applications add one more: Where?

From Foursquare to Twitter

Foursquare, the pioneer in the field, offers its users various applications. The principal one enables them to “check-in” at the venues they visit. In this way, their contacts on the social networks can find out their preferences and opinions regarding a vast number of venues (restaurants or shops for example). What’s more, the popularity of venues grows in relation to the quantity of check-ins made by subscribers. As a matter of fact, Foursquare went a step further when it offered venues the possibility to offer extra services to registered subscribers.

And – how could it be otherwise? – Google also created its own geolocation tool. Launched in April 2010, it was names simply “Places”, and it functions from a website that compiles commentaries and opinions about locations registered on the platform. Visitors can find all kind of information, while businesses can count on the additional advantage of increasing their visibility in the online universe and improving their position in Google searches. 

Not wanting to fall behind, Twitter also joined in the phenomenon. “Twitter Place” enables users so show where they are at the moment of posting Tweets. Locations already chosen by other users can be selected, or new locations can be added.

Lastly, Facebook also forms part of the geolocation trend: through a drop down menu, which can be found under “What’s on your mind?” users can post their location. It also enables users to add the location of the photos that they upload.

New opportunities

With these tools increasing their consolidation, businesses all around the world are beginning to explore the potential of the Internet mobile. Geolocation not only facilitates the promotion of products and services, it also gives social network users a key role: that of spreading opinions about their purchase decisions or sharing consumer experiences (both positive and negative).

In many cases, the platforms enable surfers to access discounts and special offers when they check-in at certain shops. That’s why there are more and more companies developing their own applications to communicate with customers through their Internet mobiles. Staples, for example, makes use of the capacity of smartphones to read QR codes. In this way it has developed a system that enables customers to buy its products from the street.

Undoubtedly, mobility is giving rise to new ways of using the web. With these options, appear challenges and opportunities for businesses who want to take advantage of the potential of the online universe with the aim of positioning their brands. The dynamics of interaction in the physical world and the virtual are stronger than ever and can be effectively used to attract more business opportunities.