99% of your competitors are not aware this capability exists … yet … (@foursquare)

I have a confession to make.

I've become rather addicted to FourSquare lately.

FourSquare is a recent addition to a number of social sites that facilitate "life streaming", or, as I like to call it, "lifestyle web impressions".

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Wiki describes it as thus: "Foursquare is a location-based social networking website, software for mobile devices, and game. Users "check-in" at venues using text messaging or a device specific application.  They are then awarded points and sometimes "badges."

However, having played around with FourSquare I see it as much more than just a game. It has the potential to become a serious business tool.

Mark Krynsky, in his recent LifeStream blog, shared this important insight:

"The act of performing a "checkin" is an important gesture that is a universal action that will we be applied to many services over the next few years. Location is a piece of data that when applied to other objects has become a very valuable way to add context and other functionality to a piece of media.

By providing location data to photographs we added great value to that media. We can now visit sites like Google Maps and Flickr and other services that use location as a data point to search and view photos. The act of the checkin now ads the gesture of saying "I'm here" paired up with location and time. This will also offer a similar valuable piece of context across many platforms in the future".

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Vanessa and I have already seen a business application for FourSquare with regards to our holiday lets.

We've tagged them on FourSquare so that they will be visible to anyone who "checks in" to the area. FourSquare allows you to comment on the location (or share a tip) and I have therefore added a brief description to the tag, describing the cottage, number it sleeps, and phone number to call to book it etc.

I will also encourage our guests to write testimonials on FourSquare, which can be viewed by anyone in the area.

FourSquare shows you everyone who has been in the area, and you can connect with them via Twitter and FaceBook (if they have shared that data). This is a free and quick way to connect with people who have visited, and therefore have an interest in the location. A targeted database that you can leverage and use to make some powerful and relevant connections.

Thinking laterally:

If you are a restaurant owner, you can see who has visited your restaurant and connect with them via Twitter/Facebook (if the customer has shared this information on their profile). Foursquare can tell you how many times a customer has been to your venue or the frequency of their visits. Many venues are now using this data to reward their most loyal customers with freebies or discounts and drive more traffic to their business.

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If a Foursquare user is at your bar/restaurant, FS offer a JV programme allowing you tell them what they have to do to unlock a free snack or discounted drink. If they happen to be across the street or two blocks away from your venue, FS will let them know that your business gives special treatment to foursquare users and that they should swing by for a visit, again driving more traffic to your business.

FourSquare are currently developing some analytic tools to help businesses get the most out of the application.

Another example:

If you are an interior designer, how about writing a short appraisal on FS of the interior design of the premises you visit? The business owner may well see it, but so will everyone else in the area. A simple way to get visibility for the service you provide.

Or you may be a business coach. How about writing a short summary of the business experience you encountered during your visit to that business? Again, the business owner may see it, not to mention all the people using FS in the area.

Every time you check-in or create a FourSquare comment/tip, you can tweet this out on Twitter and FB, thereby providing easy content generation to keep your feeds fresh and share your experience of that venue/business. Another "lifestyle web impression" that is as individual as you are.

I see so many opportunities with this tool in the leisure, travel, hotel, entertainment, and services industries. It's a global site with highly localised relevance.

It's all about leaving a "lifestyle" imprint on the web that will give you enhanced visibility and facilitate deeper insights and greater context to what you (and/or your business) are all about. It's another way of making easy and targeted connections. It's another way to leverage those all-important user generated media impressions.

Your customers will generate your social media for you. You and/or your business can generate more lifestyle imprints to enhance your own visibility.

It will tell your customers what they want to know, when they want to know it, sometimes it might even be so targetted, that it tells them before they even realise they want to know it!

A bit like you didn't know you wanted a Versace tie until you came across it while searching for something else on E-Bay!

99% of your competitors are not even aware of this capability … yet.

Do you see opportunity here?

I do. I see this site becoming the user-generated "Yellow Pages" of the social web.

Having the right knowledge at the right time determines how successfully you play the business game.

Might this be another way of leveraging FREE web tools to build a highly successful business by pre-empting your customers' needs, without resorting to pushy sales techniques or needing a large marketing budget?

Certainly seems that way to me.

I hope you have found this blog thought-provoking?

These are the kind of insights we share and discuss at our Surrey Social Media Tribes networking events.

None of us is as smart as all of us … so come and join us at THIS month's event.

Date: Thursday, 15th April 2010

Venue: Club Suite, The Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford.

Time: 18.30 to 21.30.

Parking: Ample and free

This month's subject: How to use free web tools and new highly sophisticated software to "listen" on the social web.

Price: £10.00 in advance or £15.00 on the door on the night.

Please click >>> here to register and pay….

And don't forget to log-in via FourSquare when you arrive!

However, if you have already seen the light with regards to social media and you're ready to get going with it, then check out my "How to implement a social media strategy for your business" training day, taking place near Milton Keynes on the 17th April. There are a few places left on this ground-breaking course and your first customer generated by social media engagement will pay back the £149.00 including VAT course fee.

We are so confident in the quality and value of our training that we happily offer a 100% money back guarantee that your course fee will be refunded in full if you do not feel it was value for money or that social media is not for you. So you have no risk and nothing whatsoever to lose … but everything to gain.

Please click >>> here for full details.

Regards
N
 
  

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 12, 2010 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Interesting Nick
    Ive registered and am having a “play” but am not entirely sure of “what it will do”
    Still, we never know until we try!!
    Thanks for the pointers and looking forward to your next event

  2. Posted April 12, 2010 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Quite right sally you should give it a go – much like Twitter, after time the penny will drop.
    Nx

  3. Posted May 6, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Absolutely effective your feelings to my lifestyle. As i already have gained a lot coming from your current post and therefore it is my best honored to publish the good thoughts with you.Expect we all can make contact a lot more through the e mail and writings.Thank you a lot.by Prada Handbags

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