I wouldn’t consider myself a nerd per-say, however my “normal” friends who are not in PR would be the first to call me the biggest tech-geek in the the northern hemisphere. First there was MySpace, then Facebook, then Twitter, and now…drumroll please:
What is Foursquare you ask?! I shall tell you. Four Square is a location-based tagging system that allows you to let your friends know where you are. Foursquare is accessed from a variety of internet enabled phones including the iPhone, Blackberry, Palm, and Droid. Your location is then shared with whom you chose it to be shared with. Your location can be linked to Twitter and Facebook (because seriously…who uses MySpace anymore?!). Four Square goes way beyond just sharing your location; it allows users to unlock “badges” based on where their travels take them. For example, if you check into a gym more than ten times in a month you can unlock the “gym rat” badge or if you go to several Zagat rated restaurants you can unlock the “foodie” badge. People can then add “tips” based on the venue they have checked in at. These tips can steer you in the right direction when it comes to decision making time. What is the best place to go for karaoke? How is the food at that Mexican restaurant down the street? Chances are someone has a tip for you that can help you make an informed decision.
Four Square also encompasses a smart marketing vehicle called, “near you”. Upon checking in at the Marc Jacobs flagship store in Chicago a quirky message pops up. The message reads, “You have checked in at Marc Jacobs, since you are so close you should stop by to Le Passage for 1/2 price Belvedere drinks.” Le Passage is doors away from Marc Jacobs. By notifying people in the area of special promotions it encourages consumers to visit the company featured.
Additionally, businesses now have the opportunity to collaborate with Four Square to create their own unique badges. For example, if you visit any Marc Jacobs store, you unlock the Marc Jacobs badge. This is a fun way for a company to effectively communicate with their customers. By unlocking this badge you automatically begin to follow the official Marc Jacobs Twitter account, again creating an effective line of communication between different publics.
Businesses are able to monitor their brand via Foursquare. By being able to see what customers are saying about them, businesses are able to effectively measure public opinion. Foursquare also enables businesses to identify who their most valuable clients are. The person who frequents a particular company the most often becomes “mayor” of that venue. Certain companies have begun to offer “Mayor Discounts” to their most loyal customers. By rewarding the people who already are positive ambassadors of your brand you create loyalty.
Many of my friends had deemed Foursquare “creepy” or “invasive”, but I disagree. The user controls who and what social media networks they share their location with. All too often I text my friends to see what they are doing; now I just look on Foursquare to see for myself. Additionally Foursquare determines “trending topics”. If a venue is “trending” it means several people had checked in at that particular establishment recently. This can be helpful when determining what establishments are busy and what establishments may be good to visit on any particular night. For example a bar near my house offers Trivia on Wednesdays, it is no surprise that every Wednesday night that that particular establishment is usually a “trending topic”.
Foursquare launched their social media empire in New York City, but quickly expanded to other markets allowing users to add their own venues.
Foursquare is free to download and use. The developer makes money based on companies that pay to have their company featured.
Okay, maybe I am a social media geek, but I think I’m okay with it. Foursquare has revolutionized the way people are able to gather information about the places they frequent and enable communication between customers and the businesses they visit. I highly suggest you download Foursquare and give it a test drive. You’ll be addicted…I know I am.