I’ve overheard a few souls recently write foursquare off as a sort of ‘creepy’ social media development – “I wouldn’t want people knowing where I am all time time” seems to be their main concern. But for anyone who’s actually looked into foursquare – what it is and how it works – or even better, tried it out first-hand, they’d know there’s some serious business level application under the hood.
Firstly, let me say that I don’t use foursquare to hook up with people – that side of things is not really of much interest to me. What I do like however is expressing my indirect, and sometimes direct, loyalty to physical points of interest – businesses, organisations, gatherings – that I share an affinity with.
I leave tips at business locations that both please me and displease me. I read the tips of others – mini peer reviews – they offer some great insights. I also look at the analytics around the people who have checked into my business locations, and follow them on Twitter if they have a connected account (a large proportion do).
I look at some of the really clever promotions businesses are offering the foursquare community to drive repeat foot traffic into their stores, cinemas, branches, malls, markets, museums and clinics.
I even take some sense of pride in being the ‘mayor’ of my local train station (or at least I did until the title was recently wrenched from me – damn you Naughty J!)
You don’t have to be actively engaged in foursquare to pull business value from it. Every business owner with a physical point of presence should accept, or embrace, the fact that they’re probably on the platform already – people are checking in there now, and patron generated tips – the good, the bad, and the ugly – are starting to flow in now (and be syndicated across to Twitter).
Maybe you don’t want people knowing where you are all time time, but they sure as hell know the street address of your business. Like it or not.