Foursquare Holds the Aces in Social Networking

I remember a famous line from a blockbuster Hollywood movie of the 90’s. If someone asks you for a help or a favor, always ask that person, “What is in it for me?” We have always been the barter society, working on the lines of give and take since God known when! Quid-pro-quo has been the way the world works, materialistically or emotionally. What has changed though is the way in which this crudeness is presented by the marketers and businessmen in-front of the people. The business strategies have become more and more subtle in the ways they approach people with their offerings. But this always has a consistent fake undertone that says – There isn’t anything for me in it! But that still is the basic philosophy of business. To give and Take.

Stepping into the 21st century, a mind boggling number of ways exist in which brands are marketing and selling themselves. Social networking websites are slowly but surely becoming the alpha male, something which Televsion was for radio at one time. Mainstream advertising, though still a huge industry, is surely feeling the heat of the unlimited opportunities that the web provides for marketing and advertising. Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have already been talked about at length at almost every available web space. According to a survey by Regus, more than half of companies worldwide now use various social networks and about 40 percent of companies say they’ve had success in finding new customers using social networks.

Another Player

Innovation has always been the key to online success. Following the same footsteps, FourSquare, a location-based mobile application is breaking new grounds in innovative business activity. The social-networking tool encourages people to check in at places they visit all around their vicinity, whether it’s a local grocery store or bar. This tool also facilitates keeping one’s friends updated about where one is or where one is spending most of his/her time as every time a person checks in at a location a message goes out to their friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook telling them of the person’s location.

What’s the Hype?

Apart from being a great way to explore the city, this social networking tool also rewards you for visiting a new place or revisiting an old place. In-case the place you visit happens to be a business center or a shop then the perks are a little more materialistic!

A boon for small businesses you can say. These small businesses are encouraged to give special discounts and offers for people who become repeat visitors. The person who checks in the most is named “The Mayor” of that place and gets even better perks or offers from the same place. Such repeat visiting behavior is reverberated to all the friends of the individual through the mobile application or the website. This obviously leads to an increase in the number of customer visits for the shop or the business center and adds to the overall popularity of the place. A great example would be Starbucks. The coffee giant has seen the number of Foursquare check-ins at its US outlets jump by 50% since launching a promotion recently to give Mayors $1 off Frappuccinos. A win-win situation for the website, the companies and the consumers!

The perks

The website is a great way to promote one’s brand or shop. But that’s not all. This tool provides a lot more to the companies in the form of analytical information about who is using the site, such as when people check in, whether they make a return visit and the demographics of who is checking in.

Another success story comes in the form of Dominos. The Pizza giant recently posted a surge of 29% in pre-tax profits to £17.5 million and all this owing to a super-fans programs and the development of a link up with Foursquare.

Jumping the Gun?

FourSquare has limitless potential in the real world business activities. But when it comes to an Internet-based business though, the opportunities can be harder to envision as location isn’t a useful piece of information for an e-commerce website. Considering that Foursquare’s still very young, therefore it would not be a smart move to start planning a full budget blowout on this tool. It still has a long way to go before breaking a considerable ground in the online marketing space.

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