Why mobile + social is a powerful intersection

Today’s New York Times article written at SXSW covers one of the hottest trends in social media – the use of mobile location-based services (LBS). The story, Telling Friends Where You Are (or Not), highlights the emergence of Foursquare as one of the fastest-growing social platforms and covers other platforms, such as Facebook, Google and Yelp, which also use LBS.

The combination of social networks with GPS-enabled smart phones brings both immediacy and relevancy to consumers. Whether using the capabilities to hook up with friends or to get suggestions for a great place to eat, consumers can derive a great deal of benefit.

As a marketer, recognizing the importance of location-based services is step one. Subsequent steps should then be taken. Barnes and Noble does a great job of integrating book searches with the nearest location that has the book in stock. Starbucks’ iPhone app makes it easy to find the closest spot for a caffeine fix. Several venues are creating special offers just for Foursquare users. Ask yourself the question, “When is my customer’s location relevant to my brand?” and you may be surprised by the number of occasions.

Have you had a positive experience recently with an LBS-enable brand? If so, I’d love to hear about it.