Visible Technologies pulled some data from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project for a nifty infograph of location-based social media statistics. Here's a look at it, and what the stats could mean for social business.

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As you can see, the range of people that utilize location-based services is fairly large. Even I was surprised to see that the percentage of people who are cool with including their location doesn't change much across the entire age spectrum, meaning companies shouldn't worry about whether or not their target demographic fits in: 

  • 18-29 - 13%
  • 30-49 - 14%
  • 50-65 - 16%
  • 65+ - 13%

(Check out a larger version on the Visible Technologies website.)

Services such as Foursquare and Gowalla have popularized checking into public locations each time they visit. While some consider this to be over-sharing, these little announcements not only spread to a user's friends, they often also tally how many times that customer visits each place. Knowing which of your customers are the most loyal and have the biggest voice can certainly be beneficial. 

Because everyone is connected these days, the act of encouraging customers to check in each time they visit effectively advertises the business to each customer’s circle of contacts (after all, most of these services offer the option to post these check-ins on platforms like Facebook, and Facebook itself offers an in-house tool called Places). Each check-in also serves as a word-of-mouth recommendation, which is proving to be one of the most valuable forms of advertising.  

More than Just Location

Of course, using geolocation for business isn't just about the check-ins. The real value lies in the data that checking in reveals about a customer's patterns and habits. 

"Looking at the big picture, location is where social media was in 2005 or 2006," said Rob Reed, founder of MomentFeed.com, a company that helps companies use location-based services for marketing. "Location is growing so much faster than social media ever did...If you're a business who appreciates what Facebook and Twitter have done for you, location is going to be 10 times more valuable." 

Do you agree or disagree with Reed? I would be interesting to get a discussion about how businesses are using location-based technology today, and some thoughts on where it might be headed. Drop your two cents in the comments below.