Put Foursquare On Your GPS

Today’s blog comes courtesy of Shari Storm, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Verity Federal Credit Union. Shari is the author of the new book ‘Motherhood is the New MBA”, available here.

“At Squatters Pub in the Salt Lake City airport. Drinking a Polygmay Porter, of course!”

That was the first message I posted to Foursquare. Before Foursquare, I would tweet that sentence every time I passed through SLC. My friends all know that I like a glass of funny named beer after a business trip has ended successfully.

Foursquare made announcing my victory-beer far easier. The GPS program in my phone let me touch one button and publishing my sentence was quick. While I was there, I could see who else had visited the pub and whether or not anyone I knew (from Foursquare) was sitting there at the moment. I also got six points for checking in.

According to their website “Foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things. We aim to build things to not only help you keep up with the places your friends go, but that encourage you to discover new places and challenge you to explore your neighborhood in new ways.”

Here are the components of Foursquare that make it important for marketers to pay attention:

1. The immediate nature of the review. I’ve long told marketers to pay attention to Yelp. Foursquare is like Yelp on speed. Since the phone app makes posting an opinion almost instantaneous, a member will voice their pleasure or displeasure over your service while standing at your teller station.

2. The addictive nature of the program: Since Foursquare users earn points for various behavior, people quickly become fanatics of it. You’ll see consumers vying to be “mayor” of their favorite establishments. It’s got that Farmville vibe to it. And if you don’t know what Farmville is, you don’t have enough friends on Facebook.

3. The face-to-face potential: The strongest online communities form around people who get the opportunity to meet in real life. Blogher is an example of this. People who are friends on forums like Twitter often want to meet in real life. Since Foursquare can send you an audible alert when you’ve checked into a place where someone else is or when one of your friends checks into a place near you, it increases the likelihood of bumping into friends. One recruiter nicely summed up his desire to meet possible recruits using Foursquare in this blog post. http://blog.ingramtalent.com/2010/03/20/locationbased-data-and-recruiting.aspx

My basic advice to marketers is to put Foursquare on your radar (what an outdated term, put it on your GPS!). Here are three more suggestions:

1. Look up your locations on Foursquare and see how many people are checking in. What are they saying about your service?

2. Consider building a badge for your company, like the History Channel did – http://mashable.com/2010/04/13/history-channel-foursquare/

3. Send the mayor of your locations a fun gift – perhaps a button that says, “I’m mayor of Verity Credit Union” or some other sort of credit union flair.

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