Posts Tagged ‘London’

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Next Stop for Bus Tours of London: Foursquare Checkins

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by katielancos Tagged: , ,

Droopy-eyed and half-conscious, I finally arrived at Heathrow airport Thursday morning after a long flight across the Atlantic. While waiting to meet up with a friend who I will be staying with, I moseyed my way on over to the concierge desk to pick up some pamphlets and maps. He introduced me to “Bus Tours of London”, a hop-on hop-off sightseeing tour hitting all of London’s major tourist attractions. Though intrigued, I did not sign up on the spot, and rather kept the pamphlet to ponder this decision some more.

While planning out my few days of freedom in the big city, I continued to think about this bus tour.

I am a Foursquare dork – and I will embarrassingly admit that I saw each of those bus stops as different venues for me to checkin to, rack up points, collect badges, let my friends back home know where I was, and most importantly, keep a log of my travels.

I then thought – why wouldn’t a company like this actually promote the use of a location-based social network like Foursquare?

Bus Tours of London’s business model is made for a game like Foursquare. Travelers get on and off buses, visit attractions, and share with their friends the things they are doing.

It would be a smart move for Bus Tours of London to be using foursquare in their tours and to promote their business for many reasons:

Tourists have smartphones…
London is the second most visited city by tourists in the world, and there is a significant part of that audience using smartphones. Many of those tourists are coming from the EU, U.S., and Australia, where their smartphone penetration are all respectively above 30%.

…and many are using Foursquare.
Last June, Foursquare hit 10 million users worldwide. Since Bus Tours of London’s audience would be made up of mostly tourists, all of these 10 million users could potentially be part of their audience.

London is no stranger to Foursquare.
Many London brands are on Foursquare. The History Channel, for example, set up a brand page on Foursquare allowing people to checkin to London attractions, get facts about its history, and earn badges along the way (their page currently has 225,603 followers). The tourist attractions where Bus Tours of London would stop are all on Foursquare as well. The great Buckingham Palace hits high with 7,826 checkins. Other top attractions include the London Eye (6,523), Picadilly Circus (7,026), Hyde Park (7,209), and Big Ben (3,712).

Foursquare is free to use.
It is free for both Bus Tours of London and their audience to use Foursquare. They could ask their visitors to checkin to attractions and give a shoutout to Bus Tours of London each time, or use a hashtag to indicate who they are with, and promote this fact on their maps. This would also give Bus Tours of London the opportunity to track who is using their service, thank them for their patronage, and even hold contests and reward users.

Advertising services around town like in the airport is a good tactic, as I did listen when the concierge told me about this program. But what was my initial answer to him? “Let me ask my friend first.” The rules of advertising have changed, and people more and more turn to their social networks for advice. Every time a rider tweets, checks in, or posts to Facebook, that is free advertising for you. Encouraging bus riders to push out content about your company to their network will increase online visibility – and credibility.

Articles

I Definitely Wish I Was At Topshop

In United Kingdom on August 13, 2011 by KHughes Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

London…mecca for many fashionista’s and home to the illusive Topshop. I’m sure that to most, Topshop is just another store, but for me, the thought that I will soon be stepping into one is like Christmas morning; the excitement is palpable. Recently, Topshop launched a digital marketing campaign, which makes me wish I was there even more.

For eight days only, in the select markets of London, Dublin and Liverpool from June 1st to 4th, and Manchester and New York from June 8th to 11th, Topshop launched a campaign entitled, “Wish You Were At Topshop.”  The premise was simple: provide in-store iPad 2’s to take pictures of shoppers wearing Topshop clothing and turn it into a digital postcard that stated “Wish You Were At Topshop.”  To make it an event, shoppers were also treated to complimentary makeovers, styling and refreshments.  After having their picture taken, they were able to choose from a range of backgrounds and then the image was uploaded directly to Topshop’s Facebook gallery.

This campaign was aimed at utilizing their current digital audience on Facebook, working to motivate fans to come into the stores and partake in the campaign. Topshop’s thought was that they wanted to engage their current Facebook fan base, and promote something that would stimulate them to come into the store, not just shop online.  As additional incentive, Topshop encouraged those who had their pictures taken, to edit and upload their personalized version to the Topshop fan page, in turn entering them to win a $1000 in-store credit.

Why I loved This:

If I had seen this campaign and was anywhere near a Topshop, I would have been there in a flash, showered and completely primped, of course. Topshop did a great job knowing their fan base and how to entice them to come into the stores.  I don’t know what it is about us fashion-goers, but we love a good photo op and the chance for “free” in-store credit at a favorite store.

They also did a great job utilizing popular digital trends that so many people are interested in, by creating an in-store digital experience, encompassing multiple digital trends that would attract their clientele.  The iPad 2, as well as the Instagram application used to snap the photos, are still fairly new digital trends and people very much enjoy playing around and experiencing what they have to offer.  Also, utilizing Facebook was key, as a large amount of their fan base is very active on this social media site.

Another important aspect of this campaign was the buzz beforehand. Topshop did a great job creating buzz for the campaign on both Facebook and Twitter, informing their fan base and stirring up excitement for “Wish You Were At Topshop.”

The premise for the campaign was innovative and simple; it allowed Topshop to increase traffic to their Facebook page and created a way to generate more “likes.”  In-store shoppers participating in the campaign would have to either be a fan or become a fan of Topshop’s Facebook page to be able to download, upload and see the photos online.

In effect, this campaign really killed two birds with one stone; they utilized their fan base on Facebook to bring shoppers into the stores and then utilized the campaign in the stores to generate a larger fan base on Facebook.  Genius, pure genius!

Why I Hope Topshop Implements This Campaign Again:

I would love to see Topshop continue this campaign.  It’s not the type of campaign that can be done endlessly however, because it would lose the fun, excitement and originality. Rather, I would love to see Topshop incorporate this in-store digital experience for each seasonal trend launch: winter, spring, summer and fall.

Not only did this campaign increase digital traffic to their Facebook page and increase store traffic, this campaign created a buzz, putting Topshop at the forefront of digital in-store trends.

Personally, I feel this campaign was a huge success, with over 3,300 pictures taken and uploaded to Facebook in just an eight day span. Topshop found a great way to reach their customer base, created a fun in-store digital experience and promoted their product by increasing their fan and customer base. This campaign really gives their clientele a moment to shine, while also letting them feel as if they are part of Topshop, not just a paying customer.  As a future Topshop patron, I would love to be part of the Topshop Facebook page and participate in a Topshop campaign.  That’s exactly what this campaign offers; it gives customers an opportunity to get involved with the brand.

Overall, I only have positive things to say about this campaign.  I hope that they continue utilizing this trend, so that maybe, someday, I will be able to partake!

Articles

#LondonRiots: Stop the Blame… Play the Game

In United Kingdom on August 9, 2011 by Amira E. Tagged: , , , , ,

Another crisis. More deaths. More fear. 2011 is the year for revolutions and riots around the globe. And more prominently, 2011 is the year social media became the scapegoat for revolutions and riots around the globe. First, Tunisia. Then, Egypt. Now, London?

via Foreignpolicy.com

Buildings burn on Tottenham High Road on August 6, 2011

I can’t deny (sorry, Malcom Gladwell) the significant role social media tools have played in organising people (for good or bad), but that’s exactly what they are – tools. They are not the reason why people revolt and riot. They are, however, revolutionising the way people live, communicate and mobilise.

The Numbers

  • Almost half of teenagers (47 per cent) and over a quarter of adults in the UK use smartphones (Ofcom Study – 2011)
  • 50% of the population (30 million people) use Facebook
  • 7.2% of the population uses Twitter and UK MPs spend 1,000 hours on Twitter per year.

So What?

More than ever before, people in the UK are connected to each other through their mobile phones and digitally through social networks. Today, as the riots and violence spread even further, there are two important ways the London authorities and media should leverage the very same tools they are blaming for fueling the riots… to save people from the riots and do good (i.e. fight social media with social media): 

1. LISTEN:

What does this mean? Listening in social media involves reading, monitoring and understanding the conversations taking place online. Online communication is quick and offers a human lens to every situation. Every tweeter is a citizen journalist in times like these. Listening also offers authorities and media the opportunity to understand what people need in times of crisis — whether it be emergency police support or advice on places to avoid.

How can we do this?

  • Set up accounts on Monitter or HootSuite – platforms that allow you to monitor tweets in real-time, up to three hashtags at a time.
  • Search for Facebook groups and pages about the riots and understand what the majority of people are talking about. Are they in favor of the riots or mobilising to clean up the streets?
  • Look for maps created by people online that intelligently gather important data about the crisis. A good example of this is this visual map created based on the #londonriots hashtag and UK postcodes. Another great data source is crowdsourced maps, like this special edition Google Map that was created and updated live by @jamescridland, mapping reports of looting, rioting, arrests and citizen rowdiness.

whatthetrend.com | Trending Topics on August 8, 2011

2. COMMUNICATE:

What does this mean? Every conversation is an opportunity to engage. Rather than act as higher level watchdogs and security agents on the crisis, social media allows for greater communication and engagement with the community. By using social networks, like Facebook and Twitter, and mobile platforms, like SMS and Blackberry Messenger (BBM), there is a much higher chance of impactful and immediate mobilisation of positive efforts. Especially in the case of the authorities, there is an opportunity to create rapport with the people and develop a united front to do good together, similar to the recent situation in Vancouver.

How can we do this?

  • Live Blogging: Create a one-stop-shop source of information for people who can be accessed on smart phones and update it in real time. Include photographs, locations affected and video to communicate and tell the story effectively. The Guardian, a major UK-based newspaper, is doing an amazing job of communicating with its readers through its live blog.

  • Blackberry Messenger (BBM) and SMS: This is by far the most significant amount of blame I have ever seen attributed to BBM. As an extremely secure and rapid way of communicating with groups, this is an amazing tool to use in times like this. The Guardian is the first news outlet, and brand even, I have ever seen using BBM to gather on-the-ground information, as well as to broadcast important messages. Also, the authorities should partner with UK’s telecom corporations to send real time SMS alerts to citizens, warning of dangerous areas.
  • Twitter and Facebook: This is the most straightforward way to communicate for the media and authorities, many of whom are already on these platforms. Join the conversations that are already happening. Respond to important questions. Offer advice on how to act and where to go in dangerous situations. Find the people who are seeking to do good in times of crisis and offer real support. Be the authority, and be reachable.
  • Crowdsourced Maps: If they haven’t been created already, develop a map like the one above that details the locations affected and places at risk. The ultimate aim is to protect the people and this is a remarkably easy way to do it.

In a Google search for “London Riots + Blame,” over 10 million hits were found. Blame is being placed on everything from Twitter to Blackberry, even on the popular Grand Theft Auto video game. Instead of wasting time on blame, let’s play the same game and use these amazing tools for the good of the community.