What Is Foursquare?
When I first encountered Foursquare, I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t see if it would be worth my time, I couldn’t see the point – I was happy enough with my Facebook and Twitter.
Then I looked deeper and realised Foursquare will work on two levels.
As a user, this GPS based app could change and enhance your social life in a similar way that Facebook already has done. As this becomes more widespread, You will be able to see exactly where your friends are, and what they are up to.
This Geo-tagging, location based software suddenly turns the internet upside down. instead of being global – The world wide web – Foursquare concentrates on what is happening in your close proximity.
As a business, the possibilities with Foursquare are very exciting. The main battle is getting customers “through the door”. Businesses using Foursquare have the option to offer some great incentives to regular customers. Foursquare have a venue analytics service offering the following;
* most frequent visitors
* the time of day people check in
* total number of unique visitors
* histogram of check-ins per day
* gender breakdown of customers
* portion of foursquare check-ins broadcast to Twitter and Facebook.
This service is being updated and will soon include more valuable data. The above could be vital for local businesses in the future.
Foursquare is rapidly rising above the GPS based competition, such as Gowalla / Yelp. The difference is the user element being something of a game. Gain points for checking in to locations. The person who checks in to one location the most over sixty days becomes the “Mayor” of that location. At first, I thought “yeah, so what?”, but this is where retailers / businesses can step in. By offering incentives / discounts to their most regular customers they are increasing their customers footfall. The Mayor is the Mayor, and very smug he/she will be too. The competitive element to this is very appealing.
Foursquare can be integrated with Facebook and Twitter, opening your social circle even wider. You can also check in to locations (to gain your points) without publishing on other social media sites, if you just want some “me time”.
What Do Foursquare Badges Do?
The range of Foursquare badges continues to grow at a huge pace. Again, for the user this is a fun element to this social app. Everyone loves to collect badges – I remember my left arm of my Cub Scout uniform being covered in badges, a little obsession and competition can go a long way!
It’s no surprise that companies like Starbucks have jumped on board. They understand how good social media can work for them and have just issued the Starbucks “Barista” badge. These Foursquare badges will basically act like loyalty cards, rewarding the user. Both User and Business will benefit.
A fairly good list of badges is available at iwasaround, although new badges are being created constantly. Still, it gives you an idea of what Foursquare is all about.
How Can Foursquare Help My Business?
For Businesses, The chance to really focus on customers local to your outlet is immense. Imagine you own a cinema. Offering free pass to the Mayor would cost you nothing except the cost of one ticket. How many people would try to become the Mayor is anybody’s guess.
How about a retail fashion store? Mayor gets 20% discount, “Local” (check in 3 times in a month) gets 10% discount. You are not giving a way a lot but the increase in footfall would be dramatic.
To conclude, Foursquare is not another pointless Social media app that we could live without. Foursquare is going to grow into a monster. Knowing exactly where your friends are when you are out is great. Rewarding local customers and increasing traffic to your business is also pretty nifty.
Foursquare is a win – win.
Finally, I believe the teens amongst us are really going to embrace Foursquare for the obvious social benefits. Isn’t it comforting to know you could soon track their exact movements?!