Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Foursquare - A Smartphone Game that's good for Business

I'll tell you from get go, that I like Foursquare...  What is Four Square?  It's an adorable geo-location based game, exclusively played through smart-phones, in real life, with real people, involving real locations and venues. 

When you actually visit a real venue (bar, restaurant, hotel, club, conference center etc.) you pop up your smartphone, and "check in" using Foursquare, indicating that you are at that establishment at that given time.  It broadcasts your location to other users you're connected with on foursquare, and you can even set it up to send the announcement to your facebook and twitter friends.

Foursquare serves as a game, pairing virtual rewards with real activities. Users earn badges as they visit different spots. When you visit one location enough times you become the Mayor.

I proudly hold the mayorship of 17 places in Palm Coast. That's the advantage of being on 4 Square in a small town, there is little competition. :)  By the way, if you are on Foursquare, you can find me and befriend me: Ky on Foursquare

Now, let's get to the real meat here, which is Business! Foursquare is good for business.  As a business owner, when people check in at your venue you're getting a free visibility out there = Free Marketing!  You can also add specials, even broadcast messages to those who check in at neighboring establishments.

Here is an example: The other day I was at the Taco Bell in Palm Coast, at the drive-through line.  I visited twice before the week prior, and became the Mayor of Taco Bell.  When I grabbed my Blackberry to check in at Taco Bell on Foursquare, I noticed the following message, alerting me that there is a "Special Nearby" other than where I was, that is a Taco Bell.

When I clicked on it, I saw this:

Basically, Starbucks in Palm Coast, FL was humoring me for being the Mayor of Taco Bell, and offering $1 off a Frappuccino. Now if you ask me, the offer is not good enough, and Starbucks, a giant corporation, is obviously running a centralized campaign that include all Starbucks locations on Foursquare because I've seen this elsewhere also.

But think of it from the standpoint of a small business owner, how powerful a small business can be on foursquare. I'll even give you examples if you're familiar with Palm Coast, FL:
  • Life Thyme Cafe or Dominic's Deli at City Walk, 
  • Mezzaluna in European Village,
  • Jim's Hot Dog Cart located at Sears parking lot 
These are the establishments in more or less the same neighborhood that can dominate the Foursquare-landscape with specials, and do well, too.

There is so much opportunity for small business owners to use Social Media and make real connections, acquire real customers, and create loyalty.  Foursquare is just one social media & networking application, but it can be a tremendous platform for Small Business, especially if you own a cafe, restaurant, bar or club type of venue...

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On a side note, today (June 16, 2010) there are 350 plus foursquare meetups taking place in over 60 countries with thousands of people attending.  Office Divvy ™  is hosting a Foursquare Meetup in Palm Coast between 5:30 PM and 7 PM.


Ky Ekinci : Co-Founder Office Divvyposted by Ky Ekinci
Co-Founder, Office Divvy
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

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