Part One: Two, Three, Foursquare
Foursquare is an application that takes full use of your phone’s global positioning system (GPS). After you load the free application (and submit some quick profile information) your phone will tell you what’s around you: restaurants, bars, retail stores, hotels, sites, and various points of interest (to say the least). You will find friends that are also using the system by tying your Facebook and Twitter account to the Foursquare application. You then begin your journey with Foursquare by “checking in” to locations, which updates your status with a map icon and a pin, which is a nice touch.
What happens next is nothing short of a social phenomenon as users of Foursquare earn points and badges. What makes this unique is that not only are people using the application for the valuable location-based information they receive about the area that they are in, they are also leveraging a reward system that is hugely popular in gaming called “achievements.” This gives users a fun reason to participate and stay connected with their friends. For instance, when a user is checked into a “venue” enough times he is crowned “Mayor” of that location, which stands until someone “ousts” him from that position based on frequency. Therefore, there’s a competitive and useful combination of reasons people are using the application.
“From a broad strategy point of view, there’s a huge potential with the ability to connect people to promotional experiences,” said Bonin Bough, PepsiCo’s global director of digital and social media. “We know where people are and can talk to them from a geo-located perspective — that’s a huge opportunity.”
For your business, you can entice people to come to your location automatically when they are nearby, with specials, discounts or incentives. Major brands (Pepsi, Zagat, Warner Bros., HBO and cable network Bravo) are seeing the value too. What makes Foursquare unique to other drivers is that you can change the users’
“considerations set” on the fly. Someone having dinner might be immediately swayed by learning that a location two doors down is offering a two-for-one drink special. Or maybe the Mayor of your establishment gets free drinks. That brings competition to your place among patrons elbowing each other to become the Mayor. The ability for “brick and mortar” businesses to reach out to customers based on their location is a giant leap forward.
We invite you to try Foursquare for yourself and keep in mind the demographic of this application is not simply growing. They’re buying!
- Beyond Twitter: An App That Lets You Truly See City (New York Times)