Last year the buzz at SXSW (SXSW.com) was Foursquare and a year later 450,000 people are eager participants in the location-based phone app that is changing the marketing picture for businesses by placing it in the hands of customers.
What is foursquare?
Foursquare is a smartphone application that allows the user to “check-in” to an establishment and get points for doing so. With the right combination of check-ins a person unlocks badges and scores points. This “game” is shifting how word of mouth on businesses is transferred.
Anyone can enter a business into Foursquare, in fact the first person to enter a business into Foursquare gets additional points, meaning as a business owner you may not even be aware you have a foursquare page. I recently entered the Anytime Fitness location I am a member of and told the owner I had just done this. She gave me a blank look as I explained how it worked and what it could mean to her business. She blew it off.
Why is Foursquare important?
Every time a person checks into a business using the Foursquare app they have the opportunity to enter a comment or a tip about the business. Foursquare also allows the user to set up notification to all Facebook and Twitter friends and followers they have. In my case that means when I check into a business 1100 Facebook fans and over 6800 twitter followers see what I enter.
Bad service? I let almost 8000 people know in an instant. Do a great job for me? I let 8000 people know! Research shows repeatedly how word of mouth marketing is considered the best and most reliable and with the new technology friends comments become instant information to thousands.
The person who checks into your business most frequently with Foursquare becomes the “Mayor” I am the Mayor of a local grocery store, a local lunch spot as well as a hotel I stay at in Louisville, KY and Gate B4 in the Louisville airport my flights always use. What should this matter to a business? Plenty.
Customers love to be the insider and foursquare users take great pride in being the mayor of a place. Want to drive good word of mouth? Treat your mayor special. Giveaways, thank you notes, even marquee recognition gives an organization a chance to be part of the game, while also driving positive word of mouth.
Imagine the next time I check into the Louisville hotel I am the mayor of that I am greeted with, “Mr. White thank you for being a gold member (which I get every time I check in here) and I see you are our current mayor! Here is the chocolate coin for being a gold member and as mayor you get breakfast complimentary.” You think I won’t be telling close to 8000 people about my mayor breakfast?
Foursquare is an emerging marketing opportunity savvy businesses will enjoy creating customer insiders who will spread the good word.