Foursquare is rapidly growing from a cool social networking app to the next big thing and everyone wants to know how they can be a Foursquare Mayor.
At first, Foursquare was only available for iPhone users. Now that there are releases for Blackberry, Android and Palm, the foursquare craze has really begun to grow. It was reported that in March the user base added 100,000 users in only 10 days.
There are already more than a million registered users happily spreading the message of this cutting edge LBS (location-based services) app across the globe. Each of the million users automatically updates their favorite social networking sites like Twitter or Facebook every time they use foursquare. This in turn spreads the messages to all of their friend’s sites. The news is spreading fast. Much like Twitter in 2007, foursquare is being touted as the next big thing. The popularity is spreading like wildfire through big cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. In fact, according to a tweet from one of the developers, foursquare just had its 40th million user checking in.
So what is Foursquare?
Foursquare is a popular social networking app that people can use to broadcast their location to their friends. To make things fun, foursquare works on a point system and becomes a competitive game. You score points for going about your usual routine like going to your favorite deli for lunch. The more times you check into places, the more points you receive. Point leaders can earn the status of “Mayorship.” A Mayor gets more points, prestige and sometimes even free gifts. You can set foursquare up to work only within a small group of friends or you can brag to the world. You can also set up your foursquare account to automatically use Facebook and Twitter to announce your presence every time you check into a location or set it to quietly direct message only the friends in your inner circle.
People use foursquare to not only stay connected when going out but also to report what is going on. You can warn your friends, or anyone listening that the show is already sold out. You can announce that the new Indian restaurant only takes cash. If you are going to a baseball game, you can check out the people who are already there and read their tweets and other messages regarding the weather, food, crowds or whatever else people report.
New uses are being discovered everyday. People are starting to use foursquare as a traffic report. They can communicate if the trains or other forms of public transportation are running on time.
So what is the big deal? Why is foursquare so popular?
Foursquare is turning into a cultural phenomenon because of its addictive nature. Turning your daily routines into a game and allowing you to brag about it on a variety of social networking sites has proved to be quite fun. But the reason why foursquare is going to be big is not just because of the competition of who gets to be Mayor in you circle of friends. Business Can Use Foursquare and they are seeing the huge marketing potential.
Say a guy steps into a Mexican restaurant in downtown San Francisco. While he is checking into his foursquare account, he notices a happy hour special that includes a taco and a Corona for only five bucks. So he broadcasts this through foursquare to his friends and also to Twitter. His friends that pay attention to his whereabouts on either Foursquare, Facebook or Twitter see the happy hour special and decide to join him. His Twitter account is public so now anyone paying attention sees the happy hour special. When business owners see this app in action, they instantly realize the potential.
I often update my Foursquare account when I’m hanging out at the best brewery in Lowell. My Foursquare then updates my twitter followers and Facebook too. So 1000+ people know I’m at my favorite brewery and I might say what the special beer is tonight or what band is playing. Good information for people that know me and might want to come down and join me. I’m also acting as a marketer for the business so they should in turn reward me for checking in.
Many businesses in areas where Foursquare is popular have already seized upon this free marketing opportunity.
There are many stores that offer discounts to foursquare users. Some bars and cafes are already rewarding the users who have Mayor status with free drinks. The Mayor’s friends who found him on Foursquare get discounted drinks, the business owner gets more customers and free advertisement while Foursquare just keeps getting more popular.
This model of strategic marketing was not intended by the creators of foursquare but they sure love it. Services that reward users who rise to Mayor status with some sort of perk or freebie are now officially in the works. With business owners in mind, the next generation of the foursquare app will definitely be integrated with marketing and advertisement programs that reward loyal users.
Foursquare already has nifty signs available for download that business owners can place in their windows. You can also register your business at: http://foursquare.com/businesses/. If your business offers coupons or specials to foursquare users, then you will gain access to the company’s venue tracking system. Now you can analyze how many extra people crammed into your café hoping to become Mayor just so they could get a free coffee.