Foursquare: It’s All in The Tips!

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There’s a new Social application in town (Really? A new one? That’s weird) and some are seeing it as a rogue cowboy – Intrusive, deceiving and a little eratic! It has the ability to connect people through venues, clubs, restaurants and interesting sites around major cities. It can provide easy directions to that swanky club you always wanted to go to and also lets you know which friends are there. A little creepy? I dare you to actually try it – Foursquare that is!

We have a terrible flaw embedded in North American culture, but I am not here to discuss the sociology of the technological revolution – although, that would be incredibly fun for me! We judge and ridicule things before we actual know anything about them. I understand lack of time to research EVERYTHING. In the digital sphere, things change way to fast, but before you judge Foursquare as an intrusive no no, listen to what I have to say. There may be great possibility for your business – Especially with large public events!

What is Foursquare anyway?

Foursquare is a ‘Location Based Social’ network that helps you link to friends and newbies using GPS through your mobile device. With easy accessibility through Social mobile PDAs, this application has taken huge strides in major city hubs across North America in the passed eight months. As Twitter before it, many don’t understand the point to this genius! People always thought Twitter was pointless! Who wants to know what people are doing every moment? But something morphed – enter the content highway and the ability to connect through content snacking! Foursquare has entered the same drama! Who cares where people are? Check ins? Points? Explorers? I don’t care that you’re at the AMC seeing ‘She’s Out of My League” for the third time (great movie by the way). What Foursquare has done is created a game. Yeah, so you check in, but the question has always been, now what? 2009 saw huge rise to the personal brander. People focused on showing their online communities that they were busy, what they were doing and where they were at any given moment! The unique twist with Foursquare, is that you gain points for exploring your city, gain badges once you reach different stages and meet new people as well. Yes, many think this is a joke, but it actually has caught on extremely well and has integrated itself into the push of Facebook and twitter seamlessly. I won’t get too much into the different badges and levels you can reach because I feel there are other useful points to Foursquare that are more relevant to our industry as #eventprofs… The Tips!

Leave tips for your friends and become a trustworthy connection!

This application has a lot of great features, but I want to focus on what has been successful for me. When I started with Foursquare, I realized very quickly how to give tips. As a user, you can leave tips for your friends on various locations that you have been to. Say you have been to an incredible restaurant with your significant other, you can leave a tip for anyone else who checks in to this restaurant. For example, “This restaurant has an incredible clam chowder! Also, ask for a seat in the upper level, the atmosphere is perfect for a first date.” Now, anyone who checks into this restaurant or any location in the Foursquare network near by, will see this tip pop up – Friend or not, and will also let them know who said it. Are you aware of really obscure places in your city? Well known as a connector? These tips are perfect to promote yourself, your brand and your city to your online community.

Large events and connecting the city

Canadian Music Week, NXNE, SXSW, Molson Indy and other major events have an opportunity to really engage fans, conference goers and business folk using this application. All of these public events use multiple venues around major cities. The integration of Foursquare sponsorship, check points and contesting can really make their conferences interactive. Imagine being able to see what shows your friends are at while also having the ability to meet them through GPS tracking, all while gaining points to win a major prize (Canadian Music Week and NXNE/SXSW). Venues and businesses are already finding ways to connect with their patrons by offereing deals and free gifts just for checking, making tips and yes. becoming the mayor of their facility! Enter the new age of 'Travel Marketing'. The possibilities are enlightening!

I leave you with this…

Location Based Social Networking is here. These types of applications and technology were inevitable. The intrusion is yours! If you feel you don't want people to know where you are, then may be this application should not be a platform you choose. I personally use it for event purposes to let clients, staff and others know where 5th Element Events are happening and always follow up with live Tweets, pictures and video to accent the campaign. Foursquare is great in conjunction with other tools you are using. The possibilities to promote yourself and your company can be great if you develop a strong startegy of placement and integrate useful tips for your network. Build trust as a suburban connector and you'll see the amount of people who try to connect with you not only on Foursquare, but other platforms you repersent your personal brand on.   



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