If one thing holds true in the world of social media, change is inevitable. Facebook gets it, Twitter gets it, even Google, with it’s failed attempts at social applications gets it. Geolocation social media apps like FourSquare, GoWalla, GetGlue, and Yelp haven’t quite “gotten it” yet, though, and if they don’t figure it out soon, Facebook is going to eat their lunch.
Until now, geosocial app users have been okay with being rewarded with badges, stickers and mayorships with the hope of coupons and specialized offers always looming in the future. Even Facebook introduced their “Places” offering, a very limited checkin feature with a lot of gaps, but they stuck with it and continued to evolve the offering into Locations. Apparently, they have decided that this functionality is worth the long-term investments and, with their huge advertising network behind them, they may just be the social site that makes it work.
While FourSquare has had limited success with their deals, there just aren’t enough of them to really give users what they want. Sure, if I want to eat at Hooters 7 days a week, I can get free wings, but a little variety is a good thing (no disrespect to Hooters, who has definitely embraced the geosocial movement). If Facebook starts making deals available every place you check-in, because their marketing machine can sell the value to businesses, they may just take over as the preferred check-in app.
And if you think Facebook is going to stop there, think again. Sites like GetGlue need to take heed and watch their backs. GetGlue has been working on their social check-in app for television shows, books, music, and movies for a while now, but if Facebook is able to make Locations work, I see no reason that they wouldn’t expand the offering beyond where you are, to what you are doing. Think about it…getting people to say what they’re doing is Facebook’s bread and butter. With the introduction of their new Verbs technology to Open Graph, there is no reason people won’t be clicking the “watch” button or “listen” button instead of the Like button. Just look at how Spotify’s integration has started taking over people’s timelines…like it or not.
So listen up geosocial apps….we’re here, we’re ready to check-in, we’re ready to spend our money. But we want real value in return, not just virtual badges, titles, and stickers that mean little to us in the real world.