What is Foursquare and can it be used for business?


Alice

Foursquare is basically a local service-based social network-come-game which you can play online and, more appropriately, via your smart phone. Its main purpose is to tell you where your friends are (if they’re also connected to Foursquare) and vice versa, plus a few more activities to increase the fun.

It’s based around the idea of ‘checking-in’ places, such as coffee shops, bars, restaurants, hotels or wherever, with a short message about where you are and what you’re doing. Your friends will receive that message so they can decide whether to come and join you, and it’s also good way to enable you to find your friends when you need them too.

Every time you ‘check-in’ somewhere you get points, with incentives to gain more from new places, multiple ‘check-ins’ and more, mostly obtained out of work hours to ensure Foursquare is played for social reasons. This appeals to collecting-types, because if you manage to acquire more points than anyone else within a 60-day period, you could become ‘Mayor’ of that location. Also you can collect ‘badges’ for ‘checking-in’ various new places over a time period, as another result of gaming.

How can this be used for marketing purposes? Well, not much, unless your business partakes in the Foursquare gaming side, and honours its ‘Mayors’ with incentives and ‘badges’ to encourage them to visit more often – great for coffee bars, cake shops, bars, hotels and the like. Apart from free coffees and drinks, Foursquare players don’t benefit much apart from having fun and showing their loyalty to that particular brand or company.

It’s important to remember this is essentially a social networking activity, which is about communicating and forming relationships, so the business side will become merely a bi-product from meeting up with your friends and showing off your ‘Mayorship’. You could take advantage of incentives from hotels when wining and dining clients, using their conference rooms and such like, there is always an opportunity around the corner once a relationship has been struck from using Foursquare!

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