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8/30/2012
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Shoutlet Helps Retailers Track Foursquare Activity

Social media management tool also manages promotions tied to a location.

11 Management Systems That Can Help You Get A Handle On Social
11 Management Systems That Can Help You Get A Handle On Social
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Shoutlet is ready to take social media to the streets and into stores, hotels, and restaurants with Foursquare integration.

Shoutlet is one of a handful of enterprise tools designed to manage hundreds of social media accounts for large-scale social media marketing programs. The new capabilities, currently available to about 400 corporate customers in a beta program, let social media managers:

-- Visualize and monitor Foursquare locations, individually, in groups, or all at once to see check-ins, mayor changes, tips, and photos.

-- Get demographics and sharing statistics for Foursquare users.

-- Schedule and manage specials through Foursquare's services for merchants.

[ Want to know where social media is coming from? Read Geographic Search Engine Finds Location-Specific Tweets, Media. ]

One beta user is Fairmont Raffles Hotels International. "As a Shoutlet customer, we're very excited about the recent Foursquare integration, as it will allow us to more effectively manage our 500+ Foursquare brand and hotel-level venues worldwide," Tiffany Strobel, the hotel firm's social media and community manager, said in a statement. "It's nice to be able to do all of this from one dashboard, instead of logging in to multiple sites."

Part of Foursquare's strategy is appealing to businesses that are anchored to specific locations, such as stores or hotels. Retailers like Radio Shack use the service to help bring customers into their stores.

Shoutlet CEO Jason Weaver said his developers have been working to make maximum use of the Foursquare application programming interface for merchant services, so that promotions can be launched right from the dashboard of the social media management tool.

"Our clients are excited to be able to tie Foursquare in with their management of other platforms as well," Weaver said. While Foursquare provides some monitoring tools of its own for merchants, Shoutlet provides more sophisticated reporting, including the ability to aggregate results for groups of locations according to regions or corporate divisions, he said.

Weaver said Shoutlet is also exploring ways of automating Foursquare interaction using the Social Switchboard feature it introduced earlier this year, a trigger-based method for firing actions on the system when certain thresholds are reached. For example, a restaurant might define a rule saying that if a given number of Foursquare users checks in at the bar, the system should fire off a drink-specials promotion not just on Foursquare, but also on Twitter and Facebook, inviting more people to join the party. (The press release lists this capability as coming soon for the Foursquare integration).

In an interview last week, Weaver said he expected the Foursquare integration to be in production before the announcement, but the press release itself says the feature is available to beta customers now and will be available to all customers "in the near future."

Follow David F. Carr on Twitter @davidfcarr. The BrainYard is @thebyard and facebook.com/thebyard

Social media make the customer more powerful than ever. Here's how to listen and react. Also in the new, all-digital The Customer Really Comes First issue of The BrainYard: The right tools can help smooth over the rough edges in your social business architecture. (Free registration required.)

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