At this point we all know what Facebook is and some of us might even use Twitter on a regular basis, so of course we now have other social media outlets – location based sites like Foursquare. The New York based firm is just over a year old and has created some good buzz. So what exactly does the service do?
- It is a location based service – you sign up for an online account and add an app to your mobile device. Like other social sites you can and are encouraged to invite friends and expand your network.
- When you go somewhere – restaurant, hotel, bar, or any other countless location you can “check” in via your device. You can also provide tips and to dos – giving your network your spin on places (similar to Yelp). It can help you explore your city or a new city.
- As you check in to locations, you can earn trophies and mayor awards – basically achieving certain goals such as having over 10 checkins or having checked in at over 5 Starbucks’ locations. Based on being the one with the most checkins Foursquare will anoint you mayor of a location.
- Of course all this allows you to measure yourself with your network…
The service appeals to our base need to network with our peers, but also accumulate “trophies” and “prizes” to show off that we are cooler than the next person. Let us face it since we have been little, we have been exposed to and trained to accumulate and show off our prizes. As children we collected pins, stickers, Barbie Dolls, baseball cards, girl/boy scout patches and the list goes on. We have collected items all our lives – a fun excercise look in your colleagues offices and see how many tchotchkes are lying around the office or better yet look for the stacks of name tags and lanyards hanging on someone’s bulletin board. You realize we continue to collect and look for symbols of our activity. I will not claim to understand what drives us to do so, but safe to say I think many succumb to this urge. That is why Foursquare has struck a cord with that aspect of human nature.
So how can business and marketers take advantage of this? Obviously businesses with brick and mortar facilities need to make sure they can be “checkin” to, even throw a sign in your window with the Foursquare logo. Encourage your patrons to check in and to add tips. Also do not hesitate to read what some patrons are saying…clearly if on of the tips is “the service is terrible, slow and rude” something you might want to correct. Since tools such as Foursquare allow everyone to be a critic, if you are catering to this audience make sure you are aware of the this channel.
What about other marketers for services or B2B businesses? Should you leverage this channel? Absolutely. Be creative. For example – promote your clients! If you are services based business who works with large retailers have a campaign for folks to check into their locations – add some insight into how you are working with those companies. We have much to learn about how to leverage location based tools. With Facebook moving into the space, it is clear that we have only scratched the surface with this aspect of social media.