First a little about Foursquare
Are you on Foursquare
? I am! I’m the mayor of a few places. And I’m beginning to discover there are benefits. If you’re not familiar with Foursquare it is a mobile geo-application. This means it recognizes your whereabouts. It's available on iPhone, Android and Blackberry.
Here’s how Foursquare describes itself:
“Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users "check in" to a place when they're there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they've been and who they've been there with.”
My Foursquare Experience
I began using Foursquare in March 2010. At first I downloaded the app to my (yes shock!) BlackBerry to figure out what the fuss was about first-hand. I’m a passionate marketing professional – I’m always looking out for what’s cool and what can be useful for clients. I began learning about how businesses could use Foursquare the attract people to their businesses – hello marketing opportunity!
Recently a new restaurant (café) opened in my neighbourhood. The business was opening in a place where a restaurant had badly failed – never anyone there. When this restaurant was getting ready to open I was impressed by their branding. Not too often does a new restaurant open with great branding – so I the marketer had to stop by to check out the experience and food. The first time I walked in I was impressed – the restaurant was nearly packed! Once I started eating my breakfast I checked in on Foursquare and added a review proclaiming their breakfast to be the best in the neighbourhood. (I love breakfast!) I’ve been back quite a few times and each time I check in on Foursquare. I noticed a couple weeks ago that the owner visited my profile on LinkedIn and sent me a message thanking me for my kind comments. How sweet! Or is he just business savvy? Fast forward a few weeks, I asked the waiter if there was a different cook than usual - I love my breakfast and this day it was not up to par. No worries, things happen. Long story short the owner told me next time breakfast is on him. Cool! And guess what? The next time I went in this savvy business owner came over to take my order and insisted it was on him!
We all know that competition is something we humans like. We also like getting rewards. Foursquare has created badges as an incentive for check ins. I was recently hanging out with some CMS pros and we got talking about Foursquare. We ended up pulling out our phones to start following each other on Foursquare and to compare mayorships and badges. The badges are kind of funny and for some, as they accumulate badges, the hunt for more (increased check ins of course) becomes like the hunt for the holy grail!
Foursquare is a Business Opportunity
When I check in to some places I see I notice on the screen that says, “Special Nearby”. Businesses can promote specials to encourage Foursquare users to visit them. Foursquare users can also login from anywhere and see what recommendations are nearby. You can also see if you have friends in the area. Aside from offering specials, some business offer specials to their “Mayors” and to people who check in. Foursquare offers great potential for those looking to distinguish themselves from competitors in the neighbourhood. According to Foursquare, “As of August 2010, there were over 15,000 venues experimenting with Special Offers on foursquare.” Apparently Foursquare is also hooking up with some content providers to make the app more interactive by offering opportunities like interacting with a TV show
Courtesy of Workflo on Flickr
Foursquare Website Button
Foursquare is launching a website button
. This button will allow visitors to add your website to their to-do list on Foursquare. This means that when they are in the vicinity of your business, Foursquare will send them a reminder to visit your business. That’s great! This is permission marketing at its best!
Foursquare offers an open API
so developers can create their own applications. Some interesting apps have been created like JellyDo
which allows you to build a list of things to do and receive reminders when you are in the right vicinity. That’s pretty cool! LocaModa allows businesses to display check ins and activity from users in places such as flat screens: now that could be fun clubs, gyms, conferences, etc.!