Is Foursquare The Next Big Thing?

With smartphones everywhere and the interest in social media increasing, Foursquare could be the next big thing. I’ve been using it for a couple of months now. Already, it’s easy to see the different ways it could benefit people and businesses.

Foursquare is a geo-social application that works with the GPS in your smartphone. When a user visits a location they have the ability to check-in and are rewarded with points. Each week, you compete against your friends to top the leaderboard. As you continue to check-in, you are given badges. They show your overall activity on Foursquare.

The other key component is the Mayorship. The more you check-in to one location, the more chances you have to become the mayor of the establishment. People who become mayors of different places take great pride in doing so and are usually not happy to let them go. Of course for other people, the idea is to become the new mayor and oust the current one.

At the very basic form, Foursquare is a way for friends to tell friends where they are located. If a friend is at a restaurant and you’re in the area, you could jump on Foursquare and get that information.

I believe the marketing ramifications for the business world are endless. A local restaurant, Greenhouse Tavern is jumping on the Foursquare bandwagon. It’s giving its employee discount to its Foursquare Mayor.

Starbucks is already involved in Foursquare and it’s not the only business that’s getting hip. Just the other day, I saw this pop-up on my iPhone when I checked in at a Panera Bread. A yellow box flashed up on my screen to alert me of a new deal that Carrabba’s Italian Grill was offering. As you can see if you prove that you’re the Mayor of the restaurant, they’ll give you a complimentary dessert. It’s not as involved as giving your customer an employee discount but it’s just the start of what companies are starting to do for their repeat customers.

So how has Foursquare changed my habits? I’m now checking in a lot. I see that a lot of people end up in the same locations in town. We’re all fighting for the mayorships of some of the most popular places in the Cleveland area. I have to admit going somewhere and buying an ice cream cone just so I could check-in. By the way, I’m mayor of that location now. Ironically, I can not claim a mayorship at any fitness locations at this moment. You must keep checking into those locations to gain mayorships or at least once.

I’m looking forward to see where Foursquare goes from here.