The world of social media is fluid and dynamic. It encompasses everything from friends to photos to locations and demonstrates how people interact with each other and the businesses they choose to patronize. Location based social networking was pioneered in large part by a smartphone app/social network called Foursquare. It was built around the idea that as you and your friends are out and about at night you would be able to share which bar or restaurant you were at so that your friends might be able to find you more easily. It has since evolved into a service that focuses more on recommendations and pictures than on who is at what location. What started out as a small project between friends has grown into a mobile-based social network that boasts more than 20 million active users.
The basic gist of Foursquare is that users are encouraged to use the app to check-in to venues because of the built in game aspect of the network. The more often you check into a location, the better chance you have of becoming the “mayor” of that location, demonstrating to the network that that’s a favorite place of yours. Users are also rewarded with badges (http://thekruser.com/foursquare/badges/) related to the types of venues they frequent often, or special days such as 4/16 “Foursquare Day.” Check-ins can be pushed to more public social networks like Twitter and Facebook so more people in the users social network can see where they are checking in.
Marketing through Foursquare is a growing trend as businesses claim their locations and are able to view valuable demographic information about their customers and their habits. Big brands such as Bravo TV, The New York Times and MTV have created entire marketing campaigns with special badges related to their brand. Also, Foursquare offers business owners the ability to create “Specials.” ”Specials” are an extra incentive for Foursquare users to go “check-in” at a new spot or revisit their favorite hangout. There are over 750,000 different businesses that offer “Specials” that include discounts and freebies when you check-in. Foursquare specials can be a great marketing strategy for businesses to use to persuade new customers and regular customers to visit their venue.” Many businesses also choose to offer an additional “Mayor Special” to reward the user who visits and checks into their location most often.
Getting started on Foursquare is a simple process that starts with downloading the app to your smartphone. From there, just check-in wherever you like and you’re on your way. For business owners, when visiting your venue on foursquare there is an option to claim the venue that takes you through a straightforward process of verifying that you truly are the one who has the right to claim the venue. Following that, you’re presented with all the valuable demographic information and the ability to manage your venue and set up specials for your patrons.
The marketing potential of Foursquare lies in the fact that users are voluntarily providing their location, and demonstrating to their friends that they support and patronize a particular location or business. Users do not use Foursquare to check into locations that they are embarrassed of or are too private to share. This results in an implied recommendation to their social network, a very valuable piece of marketing. As customers’ habits change and evolve, it’s vital that every business owner has a good grasp on how and why their customers visit and what they’re saying about the business online. We at BPM are experts at staying on the cutting edge of new and emerging technologies; we offer training, support and management for many services as part of our full suite of marketing solutions. Contact us today and we can discuss a solution package that’s right for you.