Foursquare can be a lot of fun, but try not to get lost
People have been predicting big things for location based social networking site Foursquare for some time. And it looks as though those predictions could be coming true after it received $20 million in funding and ramped up its marketing by sending out 1000s of 'Clings' (stickers to you and me) to businesses to slap on their windows.
With Facebook and Twitter already on the 'to do' list, is messing around with yet another social media site worth the hassle? Does Foursquare have any real marketing value to offer? Or is it just a creative use of GPRS for people who like playing games?
Big brands are experimenting
Foursquare might have a modest 2 million users compared to Facebook's mahoosive 400 mill, but it's already attracting the attention of big name brands.
It's not unusual for brands to want a share of the spotlight when a trendy new 'craze' comes along. In this instance, Star Bucks, Bravo TV and the Financial Times have all been attaching their names to Foursquare's rapid rise by offering rewards to users for 'checking in' at specific locations.
At the moment it might be a 'niche' service compared to FB and Twitter. But as more phones become GPRS enabled and awareness spreads, brands know it's a safe bet that Foursquare's 2 mill users will grow. The site also has great potential for evolving into a valuable source of local product and service information provided by real people, and being more than just a 'game'.
How to promote your business on Foursquare
You can add your business to Foursquare by completing their 'Add this Place' form. Make sure you complete it fully to give users as much information as possible. You can also add 'tips' to your location, such as where people can park , whether you offer home delivery or product recommendations.
Perhaps the greatest marketing value comes from offering Foursquare users rewards for visiting your business. This could include a special discount or a prize to the most frequent visitor (known as 'Mayors' in Foursquare speak). In exchange Foursquare can provide you with stats on your visitors, their frequency and a histogram of check-in days.
Should your business join?
So is Foursquare worth bothering with? Should you get an official Foursquare 'Cling' for your business and show your part of the internet's latest hip new trend? Well, it only takes a few minutes to 'claim your place' and then add it to the Foursquare community. And with a cool $20 million to play around with, who knows how many people will be using Foursquare in a year's time?