Foursquare – What is it ? What marketers need to know?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website for smart mobile devices. If you are from the online digital marketing industry or a social media enthusiast, you surely must have heard about Foursquare. Your friends are checking in at Foursquare from different venues, becoming a mayor, earning badges etc. These updates have become common today.

How does Foursquare work?
Foursquare is a web and mobile application which lets registered users to post their location at a venue. For instance, you can ‘check in’ at venues via your mobile, send an SMS or use your device specific app that shows the list of venues nearby. With each ‘check in’ you do, you are rewarded with some points or badges. It is not surprising to see that this evolving social medium has recorded 20 million registered users as of April 2012. The recent news doing the rounds is that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) has become the first location on the mobile social network to cross the 1 million check-ins.

What’s in it for marketers?
A random check in into your coffee shop, how does it help in marketing? Is there any way you can capitalize from this information as a marketer. Yes, of course. For companies, it is vital to know where their target audience is. The exact location based on GPS hardware on a user’s mobile device or network location helps companies to know their target and direct their sale, ads, coupon, offer, communication etc. Foursquare does exactly that. It traps the location tracking space and allows businesses to have a better access to consumers.

Since its launch as a mobile social network, Foursquare has made huge advances, of special importance to businesses. It has launched a new mobile app, Foursquare for Business, which allows businesses to manage specials and access recent activity of their users from their mobile devices. Once a business claims their location on Foursquare, it gets the benefits of viewing everyone who checks in to their location.

For instance, if you are a coffee shop owner, you would be able to track your customers check in, learn about their habits and behavior and also drive traffic based on the info collected. Other leeway includes updating photos to your social media accounts, view recent check-ins and manage specials.

As a marketer, you know how many consumers are there in your store during a specific time of the day. Accordingly, you can run specials to lure people to your store during off hours and some suitable scheme for those who are frequenters. Moreover, since you have access to personal details of the consumers, you can draft comments more systematically.

Facebook vs Foursquare
With the boom of location based services in the mobile display ad world, an application like Foursquare is gaining huge traction. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Facebook is also building a location-tracking app with the potential to rival Foursquare. The report highlights that the biggest social media giant is in the process to come up with an app that can track users’ locations and alert them when their friends are nearby. This is a more passive way of gathering data rather than pushing users to check in like Foursquare.

Foursquare’s current location dominance may come under threat even if a small percentage of FB users would take to the new app. All said and done, for now, it is the app to look forward to if you want to create a new revenue generation stream for your company.

Namita Walia Sawant is a Content Manager with On Target Marketing Solutions, a Mumbai search marketing firm . To find out more about our PPC services and how we can help you get the best return on your Google AdWords campaign, contact us now.

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