Hot New Thing – Foursquare

By John Buckley

We’ve been experimenting with Foursquare for the past few months. Not Foursquare the grocery chain, Foursquare the location-based-mobile-social-networking tool (phew).

So what is it and how can you use it?  Well…

Foursquare is a web and mobile phone application that allows registered users to connect with friends find venues based on their location. It is one of a growing number of applications which include Gowalla and Google’s Latitude. While the numbers using it in New Zealand are very small, it is an attractive urban, social audience who are using it.

How it works:

It uses the GPS in smartphones like the Apple i-phone to identify the users current location and identify the businesses near them. Points are awarded for “checking in” at venues. Users can choose to have their Twitter and/or their Facebook accounts updated when they check in. It is a relatively new technology, being used mainly by “early adopters” but usage is likely to grow as more people hear about it

Running promotions on Foursquare

Foursquare actively calls attention to venues that offer specials for Foursquare users. For example, if a Foursquare user is at a bar/restaurant, Foursquare will tell them what they have to do to unlock a free snack or discounted drink. If they are across the street from your venue, Foursquare will let them know that your business gives special treatment to Foursquare users and that they should pop in for a visit. Venue owners can set up “deals” on Foursquare for free.  Foursquare limits these promotions to, in their words, “places where people meet, socialize and linger. Think: cafes, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, museums, theatres, etc.”

How are venues using it?

Here are a few of the most commonly used Foursquare promotion types in the States

  • Like a loyalty card. “Free x for every x number of checkins.”
  • As a bonus or upgrade. “Free x everytime you checkin on Foursquare.” Think: free valet or free coatcheck.
  • As a way to boost foot traffic on slow days. “40% off on Wednesdays when you check in on Foursquare!”
  • As an incentive to first-time visitors. “Free x the first time you checkin”
  • As an incentive for repeat visitors. “The Mayor (the person with the most checkins in the last 3 month period) gets free x.”

Numbers in New Zealand:

Foursquare has been talked about excitedly in the social media community but the actual number of users appears low still. Looking at the top NZ users, some of them are attracting about 300 followers each.  Our ballpark estimate for the total number of users in New Zealand is between 2,000 to 5,000 people.

This reminds us of  where Twitter was in late 2008.  Many local Twitter users were struggling to cope with their 200+ followers.  Twitter went mainstream in the 2nd quarter of 2010 and these users now have between 2,500 and 5,000 followers.  We note that Foursquare currently lacks the critical mass to go mainstream (once more people use it the network effect will drive larger numbers), however with recent coverage on TV3 the New Zealand Herald and Stuff.co.nz we predict a moderate increase in coming months.

Here are a few of the most commonly used Foursquare promotion types in the States
Like a loyalty card. “Free x for every x number of checkins.”
As a bonus or upgrade. “Free x everytime you checkin on Foursquare.” Think: free valet or free coatcheck.
As a way to boost foot traffic on slow days. “40% off on Wednesdays when you check in on Foursquare!”
As an incentive to first-time visitors. “Free x the first time you checkin
As an incentive for repeat visitors. “The Mayor (the person with the most checkins in the last 3 month period) gets free x.”
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: