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Hip to be Foursquare? Maybe for Some…

Mar/Wed | Category: theTools | 


I believe that you always have to give something a shot before you say you don’t like it.  That’s why I recently signed up for Foursquare to test it out.  However, I admit that before I signed up, I had some preconceived thoughts about Foursquare both good and, well, not so good:

1. Great Potential for Business: If you had the means to track who’s checking in at your store all the time and reward them in a consistent manner for doing so, it can inspire brand loyalty and evangelism and keep them coming back for more.  There’s also being able to advertise to those people directly and allow them to become a deeper part of the brand.

2. Annoying Status Updates: I love my friends, honestly I do.  However, I really don’t need to know when they arrive at work, visit Starbucks or are at the local watering hole.  The people among my friends that use it (granted, there aren’t many) check in places all the time and I’m constantly being updated on both Facebook and Twitter about it.  Like I said, I love them but it’s a little annoying.

3.  Potential Security Risks: For individuals it can notify burglars when you’re away from the house or where you’re dropping off your kids.  It can also tell your stalker when you’ll be at the local bar.  (of course, if you’re the stalker then this could be a great tool).  Kbuzz posted a hilarious music video on this today which you can view here.

4.  Fun Game to Play: Some people have fascinating lives and check in at really interesting places that I might want to ask them about.  It might also remind me that I’ve been meaning to see that play or movie or try that new restaurant.  Plus, the whole badge idea could be cool if badges get you something in real life.


Preconceived notions taken into account, I created an account, found a few friends and began checking in.  After a few weeks I came to the following conclusions (and, please, feel free to chime in with any of your own thoughts):

1.  Definite Potential for Business: As I’d thought – huge opportunity to get creative with Foursquare if you’re a business, but you’ve got to be in the game and figure it out.  It’s like any other customer loyalty program – find ways to reward those that visit the most and make them into evangelists to help you grow business.  I think it will be great if Foursquare figures out how to add some functionality to the platform to support this.  My guess would be they’re thinking about that already.

2.  Control Status Updates: In creating an account, I discovered that I can choose what I want to share and where so I’m not always updating people with my trips to the grocery store.  I can instead focus on using it to share little gems I find with my network.  You can also add a little commentary – “this place rocks. Totally recommend it.”  That’s pretty cool, but I already use Yelp for recommendations and that works for me.  Bad part?  I realized some of my friends aren’t doing this which made me a little more annoyed.

3.  Security Risks are Real: Definitely something to think about.  However, going back to my last point, you can control your updates, so, like anything, think before you post.

4.  Not for Me: While I can see using Foursquare as a company, and we’ll definitely use it when the Social Media Training Center opens, it’s just not for me personally.  Like Mafia Wars, Farmville and lots of other games, I just don’t have the time or energy.


My final thought? While I am not all that interested in it personally, there are plenty of people that will feel differently and more than one million people already do.  As a marketer, it will be interesting to see how Foursquare can integrate people’s “check ins” with the ability for companies to give rewards and perks.  If they figure out how to add that in the platform, then it has some serious potential to become the “airline miles program” of the future and all of those Ryan Bingham types will be quick adopters.

Have you tried it? What do you think?



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