Geofences: It's What's on the Outside That Counts
Written by Social Sentinel
How accurate and dependable are geofences–the virtual boundaries organizations create to gain insights about a specific area–for social media threat awareness? It’s not uncommon for some to assume that the majority of their threat alerts would originate from within a local geofence – perhaps one drawn around a school or its neighborhood. The reality is entirely different and should be factored into the consideration of a social media threat solution provider.
To deliver maximum awareness, your social media threat alert solution must constantly scan both sides of the fence.
In case you’re new to the concept of geofences, here are some basics about common applications:
- Geofencing combines location-based and wireless technologies to identify when people or things enter a virtual boundary.
- The perimeter of a geofence is drawn with digital assistance around an area using longitude and latitude coordinates and can vary in size from as small as a 100-foot circle, or miles wide.
- When a device (mobile phone, ID badge, etc.) enters a geofence perimeter, a preprogrammed action occurs. Coupons could be sent to your phone in a grocery store. A trucking line could know when a delivery arrives at its destination. The possibilities are practically limitless.
- Individuals must opt-in before an organization can interact with them inside the geofence. Mobile apps usually ask users for permission via push notifications. Corporate-based applications, like a trucking line using geofences to track delivery progress, would make drivers aware of the practice before they were eligible to drive.
- Many industries–from social media to security–use geofencing to engage with their customers, clients, employees, and users more personally, or to gain insights into what happens inside a set perimeter.
Geofencing for social media awareness
Reliance on geofences in the realm of safety and security vary widely as well. Some organizations use geofencing to grant building access to restricted zones automatically. They’re also used in home security setups. In the case of a social media threat alert solution, geofences serve as a focal point for publicly-available posts as they scan and filter to identify potential threats directed at a community. But ask yourself: Are you getting the complete picture of your social safety net with a geofence alone?
In the past, social media monitoring companies relied on geofences to associate posts with an organization’s brand, service, or product. This method may seem to be a simple and cost-effective approach that provides a small sample of data available. However, those that want meaningful threat alerts won’t benefit from this method.
That’s because only a fraction of public social media posts have geocodes attached–a requirement for any post to show up within an established geofence. As an example, Social Sentinel found less than 4% of associated posts matched a client’s geofence based on the exact post location. Threats made on social media could originate from anyone, anywhere, anytime. Therefore, it’s essential that whatever your strategy for social media safety insights entails, it must have the capability to scan beyond a geofence’s virtual boundary to be reliable.
Geofences serve as potent tools for engaging with people and learning from their behaviors. However, they aren’t 100% reliable for surfacing potential harm, because threats can originate from anyone, anywhere, anytime. To deliver maximum awareness, your social media threat alert solution must constantly scan both sides of the fence.