Speaking to several retailers recently I’ve posed the same question:

Do you master the social places alongside your physical sites?

Most of the time the answer has been that they aren’t really mastering any information about physical locations, at best its some information available via the website but rarely is there a clear establisbment process around how a new site is created within the Information infrastructure. The business is clear on what it takes to build a new site but they aren’t worrying about the information challenge.

And how many were linking that to FourSquare or Facebook places? How many were making sure that the information available via these social channels matched the business view? Zero, not one. This is a problem bigger than the old challenge of “domain squatting” that happened at the start of the web, its about how ever single site is presented to the consumer world.

I’m sitting here in the Finnair lounge as an example and was faced with two different options via Facebook, neither of which were created by the airline, what a missed marketing and information opportunity.

Companies who aren’t mastering their physical locations and keeping that in sync with their social equivalents are missing out on key marketing opportunities at best and actually damaging their brand at worse. I recently saw a store whose Facebook places description was “the rudest staff I’ve ever had to deal with” this is something that every single customer who checks in via Facebook will now see and its unlikely to make them buy more.

So in the rush to social as everyone concentrates on products its critical that retailers concentrate on places.

Master your locations, physically and socially or you are letting someone else dictate the social world’s view of your business.