Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Care About Foursquare?

I'm new to the foursquare adventure, but I'm really into it.

I've only been working with it a few weeks. If you're new to foursquare, it's a pretty cool application that gets loaded on to your smart phone. It allows you to tell your friends where you are (or you can choose not to) and awards badges, titles and points as you check-in to different locations via your phone. Your friends/followers can get notified of your doings via Twitter, facebook or friends on foursquare.

So far, it seems there are 3 basic types of foursquare users:
1 - Those that use it as a game. You get points for "checking in" to locations and receive different badges based on where you've checked in an how many times. Think of it as XBox 360 achievement points. A couple of great blogs dedicated to this are: the 4Square Badges Blog and the About Foursquare blog.

2 - Those that use it to see where friends are and hang out. When you check in to a location (which is simply launching the app from your phone when you get to the bookstore, bar, mall, etc, and select 'check in) you can choose to notify your friends on foursquare, twitter and/or facebook. The application will tweet or send a facebook wall posting saying where you are. If you're following me on twitter you'll see that I'm a huge Dunkin Donuts coffee fan!

3 - Marketing professionals should love this application. As a marketer, your biggest challenge isn't always getting new customers, but it's getting repeat customers and turning them from customers into evangelists. Recently, companies are offering discounts to people who have 5+ check-ins at the American Eagle store, or Ann Taylor in NY is offering 25% discounts to mayors (those who check-in the most in a 60-day span).

What does this mean for the sports card/collectible hobby? It means card store owners need to embrace this new mobile marketing faster than they started to embrace social media. Card stores are perfect for this... you can reward returning customers and allow them to tell their friends when they are at the store.

I blogged about how sports card stores can, and should embrace this a few months ago. They should launch incentives for % off packs and boxes. Becoming the "mayor" of a location is a huge badge and a sports card store could offer the mayor a framed photo in the store, 1/2 price for a box, special discounts, etc. Signing up on foursquare > businesses, they'll send you some free window clings like the image in this blog post.

I think the National Sports Collectors Convention in Baltimore should use this for their next show. Here's a great article about using foursquare at a convention to bring people together and get everyone to check out the booths. 

There are some other mobile marketing 'check-in' applications like gowalla, but I haven't tried it yet. If you have a smart phone, give foursquare a try. If have a smart phone and you're on twitter, then dive right in. If you own a business or market for one, get listed and add foursquare to your next campaign.


Rob- AKA "VOTC" said...

Thank you very much for the concise and easy to understand foursquare primer.

I definetly see its benefits for a retail marketer and something I might have used when I was a young bachelor but in all honesty I see no personal application for it at this point in my life.

The benefits for a Hobby retailer were well laid out and I wonder, if any brick and mortar is using this.

Joe S. said...

I think the main problem with applications like this is that they're most popular with people who have nothing interesting to report.

I'm generalizing, for sure, but take facebook's status updates. Most of them are about people being bored and doing nothing. I don't continually update my weekend 'adventures' the grocery store, home depot, cosco, and wherever else. So nobody would ever get any useful info from me.

Or maybe I'm just getting older and am starting to become out-of-touch with this sort of thing.