Posted by: gavinstokes | May 30, 2011

Foursquare for beginners

Not really sure how relevant Foursquare is within Ireland, with predicted numbers of about 4000 – 4500 users it seems to be slow to gather users. Its certainly taken of in the US and a few companies in Ireland are starting to use it. With smartphones numbers in Ireland expected to reach 1.5 million by spring 2011 it could be one to watch.

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby.Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.

It also introduces a gaming element in that  you can compete with your friends by earning points and badges based on where, and how often you check in, and the more often you check  will increase your chances of becoming mayor of  your local bakery

Foursquare has  potential as a way for businesses to better connect with their customers and client base and aid in developing word of mouth via social media.

For a company dipping their toe into geo-location marketing it can seem like quite a daunting and at times pointless exercise due mainly to poor implementation. The key thing here as with all social media is value, you must be providing some sort of added value to your customer. Theres a great article on Mashable which explains the key points to get right when starting out.

  1. Dont create a overly complicated special
  2. Ensure staff are trained to use foursquare
  3. Use Foursquare statistical tools
  4. Give customers rewards  but dont eat into profit
  5. Ensure you advertise in the real world that your using Foursquare
In the US, Starbucks award special ‘Barista’ badges to regular customers and offer discounts to the Mayors of individual stores.
With just over 1 million users, its nowhere near as popular as Twitter or Facebook but the difference here is that it brings the virtual on line world into the real world via geo- location and ties it to actual physical locations. It still faces the issue of needing GPS to be turned on which in turn eats battery so a user must remember to turn on their GPS and check in. This does affect the ease of use and integration with daily life  but battery life for smartphones is increasing all the time.  But with Foursquare adding 15,000 users  and getting 600,000 check-ins each day its a social media platform that’s on the rise.

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