<----(photo documenting horrible Foursquare dedication and usage)
The key to quality advertising is involving the consumer and providing them with some sort of payoff, while also helping businesses make a profit. Many people believe the new social networking application, Foursquare, is the answer.
Foursquare is a location-based socially networking website and mobile platform that allows users to “check-in” to various locations and events. The intended incentive to checking in, at this point, is the ability to gain various “badges” and points for accomplishing certain undisclosed foursquare tasks. If a user "checks in" to a place more than anyone else, they can become "mayor" of the location. Users can also follow friends to see where they are, where they have been, and what they think about the certain places they have traveled. (for more information, read Leia’s post below J )
But will foursquare last? That is the question on the minds of tech-savvy social networkers. Foursquare is essentially in the same place Twitter was about 3 years ago: there are around 2 million users, only a select few have even heard of the application, however many believe it could be a major game changer. Tech Crunch states, “The early adopters have started to drink the kool-aide, but for the most part it remains a service completely misunderstood, and even mocked from time to time.” The important piece of the puzzle determining Foursquare’s lasting power has to do with a user generated function: rewards. Company’s have begun to grant rewards to the mayor’s of their establishments, such as drink specials or performance discounts at select venues. Others have decided to disregard mayorship altogether and allow any Foursquare users who check in to get discounts. With this system, everyone is happy. Not only does the reward system draw users to the respective venues, but it also attracts more users to join the social platform because of potential discounts. It is essentially the ideal form of advertising: good for the consumer and the business.
How Foursquare capitalizes on the reward system will be the determining factor of the social networks existence. In the next edition, or upgrade, of Foursquare, the application plans to alert users if there is a special offer or discount near your check-in with some sort of banner, says co-founder Dennis Crowley. The user will then be able to tap the banner to learn more about the promo info. In order to get the discount, the user will then pull up a “special screen” to show the bartender or waitress.
In theory Foursquare rewards are genius, however I have little faith in the popularity of Foursquare catching on. The majority of my friends and family view me as a crazy social networking master for the sole reason that I am an active Twitter user. When I tell them I Foursquare they look at me with a confused look and ask “Huh?” And…to be honest, I have found little value in using using the application for the past few months. I have yet to find a quality payoff for “checking in” that is something other than the status provided by mayorships and badges. I think the location based application will be latched on to an already established network like Facebook and Twitter before it takes off as its only platform.