Insights / social-media

FourSquare, and I am not talking about the game from recess”¦

If you don’t know about or use Foursquare yet, you should.

Foursquare is a geolocation app that gives you the ability to “check in”, or announce where you are to your friends and followers. Sounds a little ridiculous, right?? Why do I want people to know where I am all of the time? I mean I am already on Twitter and Facebook, why add something new?

In most cases I would agree with that kind of thinking. New sites and social networking tools come around every day, and most of them are cool for about 3 minutes. After that I am bored, the user experience is terrible, or as a marketer I see little to no value in it. Foursquare is different. For starters, I have been using it for about a month or so and regularly urge my friends and coworkers to join and start using it. To add to that, I am on here writing about how awesome it is… Congrats Foursquare, you have a brand ambassador.

Why is it fun?

As one of the original users I get to enter in locations that don’t exist yet. Not only do I feel super cool because I am helping to create something, but I also get points for adding a new location. This makes me want to go new places and make sure I check the app wherever I am. Even better, I get credit for going places. For example, I have 5 badges and I am the Mayor of 4 places. That’s right, I am the Mayor. Are you wondering if I got voted Mayor in some sort of awesome social media election? Nope. I just showed up and checked in more often then anyone else.

What is the marketing angle?

Ever heard of Anna Liffey’s? It is a bar in New Haven, CT and I am the Mayor. Go to my Foursquare profile and check it out. Then click on it, and see some of the things you should do while you are there (I recommend drinking a Guinness and watching some Rugby).

Anna Liffey’s is a perfect example of how a small, single location establishment can use a hyper-local geolocation app to increase awareness of their brand and become known as the place to watch Rugby and drink beer in New Haven, CT. That may seem obvious, but what is even more obvious, and is yet to be done (correctly) is a large brand with multiple locations rewarding their brand ambassadors. For example, a restaurant chain should give me a free appetizer when I go there if I am the mayor. Not only will I be inclined to go there because I get my free appetizer, but I also want to remain mayor, so I will make sure and check in, letting my followers on Facebook and Twitter, as well as my Foursquare friends know what I am up to. Congrats restaurant xyz, you gave me free spinach dip and I told thousands of people how awesome you are.

I am going to keep an eye on these geolocation apps, as I really do feel like they are the next big thing in the social media world. For the time being, let me know if you are on Foursquare or Gowalla (another version of Foursquare promoted by @Garyvee), and come find me. I will let you know where I am, what I am up to, and what you should do if you happen to venture into my neck of the woods.