If the darling of 2010 applications is to truly take hold Foursquare still has some work to do. A location based mobile application; the mobile marketing community is watching Foursquare’s adoption and usage with great interest.
It’s pretty simple. You put the app on your Smartphone and it links with GPS (and even Facebook if you want it to) and wherever you are you can ‘Check-in’ to let fellow Foursquarer’s (my term not theirs) know where you are and even invite them to ‘Swing-by’ (their term). These ‘updates’ can also be posted on Facebook automatically.
So say you are in Manhattan at your favorite watering hole. You check in to let your friends and followers know where you are so they can stop by if they are nearby. You can also make comments on whatever establishment you are in – good or bad. If you are the person to visit a particular establishment more than anyone in the network you are then deemed ‘Mayor’ of that establishment.
You gain ‘badges’ for checking in the first time and when you check in more than 3 times per week at a location you then get a ‘local’ badge. I cannot resist the temptation to think ‘we don’t need no stinkin’ badges’..but that’s not apparently how the folks at Foursquare feel.
The marketing implications? I’m not sure just yet. A few of my marketing associate friends are using it probably out of the same curiosity that I have – to learn more and see how people use it. But the whole check in thing while ok can be a bit much. There’s no way to not invite someone to ‘swing-by’ so wherever you check-in you invite people to swing by. This may not always be the way you’d want to go. If you check in when going home do you really want people to swing by?
One way Foursquare could be used is by companies that have sales and other employees on the road visiting clients and prospects. If integrated with a platform like Salesforce.com Foursquare would be able to show that the agent was at the location on the sales report. GPS is a wonderful thing – and big brother like at times as well.
At present it seems to me that Foursquare is primarily an urban-oriented tool. So that people could actually ‘swing by’ if they are in the neighborhood. Suburbanites and those in even more remote locations won’t immediately have as much use for it. But for some reason I think Foursquare is going to take hold and be a big-time force in the future. I’ll let you know if I figure that out and if you have any ideas on that I’d love to hear them.