How To Use Foursquare To Your Advantage
By Andy Scherer
Social networking -- if nothing else, online social networking has evolved into a must-use for businesses everywhere. To add to the urgency of getting involved are the results of a recent study which revealed the average American web user spends approximately 85% of their online time on social networking platforms. The latest and greatest aspect of social networking, though, is geo-centered (or location-based) networking, and one of the fastest growing sites in this category is Foursquare.
What is Foursquare
First and foremost, Foursquare is a location-based social networking website wherein the users "check-in" to various spots and are awarded points for those check-ins. And, as of yesterday (September 23, 2010) users have the opportunity to achieve badges for completing tasks as well as checking in to various venues. Foursquare has also introduced smartphone applications to help the networking process as well. Currently, the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry are all supported by Foursquare apps.
The goal of Foursquare is to bring the online social networking experience offline. By checking in to the venues, you also alert your friends to where you are through a "ping", Facebook status update, and/or Twitter update. Yes, that's right...Foursquare links up to Facebook and Twitter which makes your networking world much easier. The idea is that your friends will be updated on your whereabouts and come join you for face-to-face networking.
Foursquare Advantages for Business
Not only is Foursquare meant to help people connect with their friends, but it is also a phenomenal way for businesses to network and spread the good news of their company. When you claim your venue (which I highly suggest you do as soon as possible), you have the ability to network with the people that check-in to your venue as well as provide them with specials for a certain number of check-ins, etc. As an example, if you have a restaurant you have the opportunity to provide someone with a free meal when they check-in 10 times in a month.
To add to the value of this location-based platform, your frequent users (or people that check-in) are awarded titles for checking in to the same venue multiple times. One of the newest positions is a "Venue Mayor". That person will have their profile picture on your venue page at all times and essentially help you promote your business (ideally).
In general, Foursquare is yet another social networking website, but it is expanding rapidly with the significant ability to merge Facebook and Twitter updates as well as enhancing the current online networking by bringing the relationship offline. Again, if you have not already done this, get together with your marketing (or public relations) manager, and establish an account on Foursquare that claims your venue. Start a few specials, and start to promote your venue through your website and print media. Have fun with this, and please feel free to leave some comments below!
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