I hope that all of you know what Foursquare is and how it functions. For those of you who don’t know, Foursquare is an online service that let’s you share the places you visit (restaurants, bars, shops, landmarks etc.) with your Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook friends. Moreover, the more you “check-in” to “venues” the more badges you unlock. However, the most important badge to brands is the Mayorship badge which is received when you have the most “check-ins” in a certain “venue”.
Brands like MTV, Louis Vuitton, Gossip Girl and Wall Street Journal have immediately perceived the value of Foursquare and integrated it in their social media strategies. Foursquare’s reach is not as big as the reach of Facebook and Twitter but it is a smaller dedicated community. Very often (if not always) Foursquare users share their check-ins with their friends on Facebook and Twitter thus allowing the brands to indirectly extend their reach.
In a way, Foursquare is a great recommendation tool. When users check-in to places they practically recommend those places to their friends. No ad can ever compete with a recommendation. It gets personal and makes friends to want to get involved as well.
On the other hand, people who use Foursquare have a boosted ego because of 2 reasons. First, they have smartphones and want to show off. Second, they get to brag about the places they visit. So, they will want to check-in as much as possible at as many venues possible.
So, you become a mayor of certain venue and someone takes your mayorship. Will you feel revengeful? Will you want to get your mayorship back? You probably will. And the others involved will. So, the number of visits to the venue increase, check-ins increases, the exposure of the brand increases.
Brands providing products and services (B2C oriented and some B2B oriented) are presented with an opportunity as never before. Localized targeted Foursquare campaigns can increase the website traffic as well as foot traffic in the stores.
Let me share few examples of using Foursquare as a marketing channel to stimulate your imagination and creativity.
Starbucks. Starbucks is probably the first major brand that embraced Foursquare. They offered $1 discount for every frappucino to every mayor who has mayorship over a Starbucks coffee shop. This is a nice discount, considering the fact that customers pay $4 or more for their favorite beverage.
Jimmy Choo. One pair of Jimmy Choo trainers were checking in at various locations and those who followed the campaign and were lucky enough to arrive at a venue before the trainers left got to pick a pair in the style and size of their choosing.
Financial Times. Financial Times may appear as a conservative newspaper, but they are well aware of the importance and impact of social media. Thus, Financial Times decided to give Foursquare users who check in at targeted locations the ability to temporarily use paid content on FT.com.
MTV. MTV and VH1 viewers are able to track the moves of their favorite reality TV stars from Jersey Shore, The Hills, The City and Real World: New Orleans.