Last week I talked about some of the ways Gowalla (and other so-lo media) can be used within the church. I’ve been messing around with the service enough now to discover some really neat applications and some pet peeves.
Remind People to Check-In
Put a sticker on the front door. Put a slide in your announcement loop, if you’re a church. Whatever you do, remind people to check-in.
Then follow up with them, like Zach did, after the service. Take the step to building a relationship outside the walls of your business or church. If you follow them to a Facebook profile, suggest other people in your business or church that they may want to connect with. If they are on Twitter, connect them with other Twitter users in your church. If they have a blog, leave a comment. Let them know you appreciated the fact that they took a couple of hours out of their week to check you out. Then, make the relationship worth something to them in terms of connecting with a community of people who are interested in spiritual things.
Create a Trip
Use Gowalla to create a trip in your community. Mark businesses (Not residences!) your church members like and frequent regularly. Maybe mark some places your staff enjoy. In your follow-up, let people know about your trip and ask for suggestions of places they enjoy in your community.
Check-in without adding to the conversation.
I love checking-in, but I don’t feel the need to broadcast my check-ins if I don’t have something to add to the conversation. Make sure and add a comment. Tell us why you’re there. Talk about the service. Sometimes, I will check-in after I visit a location so that I can comment about my experience. If you don’t have anything to say – and there are times I don’t – check-in anyway, but turn off the broadcast to Facebook and Twitter.
Check-in at places you aren’t visiting.
A couple of people I follow checked into a bunch – like 5 or 10 – places in a period of a minute. I was like, “Wow, they are busy!” until I noticed three restaurants in their check-ins that would take at least 45 minutes to sit down for a meal. I completely wrote them off as bogus. Sure, they may have visited them before. But they hadn’t since they started using Gowalla. They weren’t adding to the conversation. They weren’t letting me know what they thought of the service. They were focused on increasing their Gowalla stats, getting stamps, pins, and other goodies. Not cool. Totally bogus. It felt wrong. If they do it in Gowalla, they probably do it in other social media. At least, that was my first thought. I hope I’m wrong.
I’ll keep you posted as I use the services. I hope that I’ll get a chance to create two Gowalla Trips while I’m in Amsterdam. First, I’d like to create a prayer walk. Second, I’d like to mark one of the walking tours that Rick Steves suggests in his book. The two overlap pretty well, so if I do one, I can probably do the other. I probably won’t have the time, but I can hope.