Foursquare is a service that is getting a lot of attention these days, and that could make it an increasingly viable tool for local businesses. If you are not familiar with Foursquare, it’s a location-based social networking site an app for mobile devices. Have you used Foursquare?
Wikipedia provides a pretty good overview of it:
Foursquare allows registered users to connect with friends and update their location. Points are awarded on weekends and non-business hours for “checking in” at venues. Users can choose to have their Twitter and/or their Facebook accounts updated when they check in. In version 1.3 of their iPhone application, Foursquare enabled push-notification of friend updates, which they call “Pings.” Users can earn badges by checking in at locations with certain tags or for check-in frequency. The company has stated that users will be able to add their own custom badges to the site in the future. If a user has checked-in to a venue more than anyone else, on separate days, and they have a profile photo, they will be crowned “Mayor” of that venue, until someone else earns the title. Users can create a “To Do” list for their private use and add “Tips” to venues that other users can read.
Whether or not this sounds like a cool or fun service to you, the attention and usage Foursquare is seeing is worth paying attention to itself. Foursquare encourages business use, and you might be able to see some potential use cases. On this page they highlight quite a few. Foursquare says:
In the past few months we’ve seen local businesses encouraging users to show their phones to servers and cashiers as a way to prove their loyalty to a particular place.
“Foursquare says you’ve been here 10x? That’s a free drink for you!”
“Foursquare has deemed you the mayor (aka you’ve been here more than any other user)? Enjoy this free order of french fries.”
We’ve seen venues promote their involvement with foursquare via Twitter, signs at cash registers and sidewalk blackboards. We’re just starting to make these specials “official” by including them in our mobile apps and on our website.
It’s becoming a more mobile world with each passing day. Foursquare already has user numbers in the hundreds of thousands. It looks like the numbers are on their way up. I’m not going to tell you that Foursquare is a must and that it can’t be ignored, but for small businesses looking to stay on the cutting edge of current trends, you may want to explore the opportunities offered with this service. Mashable, one of the most popular tech blogs on the web, says Fousquare is changing the world.
Have you used Fousquare for your business? What are your impressions?