Kate Potter writes…
Foursquare is a unique social media tool – users “check in” to venues or locations. As they do, they get alerted to “tips” that other users have left for that venue and often unlock special deals from the venue owners. Check into a venue often enough and you might beat all of the others users to become the “mayor” of the venue!
Foursquare is a review service, offers discounts, and allows users to catch up with friends. While similar to Facebook places, it’s unique in that it offers opportunities to get free stuff, save money, see what other users are saying about the venue, and one important difference – Foursquare makes location-based social media a game.
‘Gamification’ has been a buzz word for a couple of years now, and Foursquare has gamified their platform very effectively. Every check in earns you points, and every now and then a check in will unlock a “badge”. It’s like Girl Scouts for the social media world!
Recently, while in Darwin on a work trip I checked in on Foursquare at the Darwin Sailing Club. Half an hour later I got a Foursquare notification that one of my Adelaide friends had also checked in at the same venue. We were both in Darwin at the same time and probably wouldn’t have realised it if it weren’t for Foursquare – and we were able to catch up!
For businesses, it’s an important platform to keep an eye on. I’ll always remember my experience checking into a Government department service office late last year. The first “tip” that came up after my check in: “People come here to die.” I looked at a few other tips, all of which contained a similarly negative tone, such as “Hope you found a good park. You’ll be here a while…”.
This illustrates the importance of monitoring this network, because even if you don’t create an entry for your venue or location, people will do it for you. And the “tips” they give other users will be a reflection on their experience.
It’s worth mentioning that while Foursquare is a great social media network with lots of benefits, some social media users don’t like the platform because they feel uncomfortable about people knowing their location. However, as with any social network, YOU choose how much you want to share and with whom. My suggestion is to make sure you only accept Foursquare friend requests from people you know and trust “in real life”.
Yesterday, on Foursquare Day, Adelaide social media group #socadl organised a Foursquare “Swarm” – when 50 users check into a location at the same time, they all unlock the Swarm badge. Hughes PR consultant Natalie Ciccocioppo and I enjoyed seeing the numbers climb, and cracking the 50 – earning ourselves a Swarm badge!
Another badge for the virtual Girl Scout sash – time to chase the next!
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