There’s Not a Badge for That? Opportunities Abound for Location-Based Social Media

Location-based services seem to be the next hot advance in social media.  In fact, a recent article by Fast Company stated that the top adopters of these services are younger, more affluent, and most importantly, more influential than the average internet user  – basically, the early adopters are the cream of the internet crop.

However, there’s a wealth of opportunity that both the services themselves and local businesses aren’t tapping in to.  I’m going to focus on FourSquare since I have a soft spot for the service.

What FourSquare Can Do

Being an avid user of FourSquare myself, I wonder why more people don’t use the service.  I’ve spent many a party in the last few months explaining how great FourSquare is, and have converted almost everyone I’ve spoken to – it’s such an easy sell.  For me, it’s the thrill of receiving a new badge (check out the complete badge list!).  For some, it’s the possibility of being selected for a special promotions, for others it’s the honor of obtaining a mayorship.

The problem is that FourSquare can be complicated to “get”.  And then once someone gets it, the questions inevitably center around privacy concerns.  Clear and concise privacy policy and privacy settings speaks volumes, and I truly think FourSquare has this. Therefore, FourSquare’s hurdle to overcome is increasing awareness of both the service and the privacy.

With just one effective ad campaign,  adoption rate would go through the roof.

What Businesses Can Do

Imagine a tool that would allow you to increase customer trips, build customer loyalty, and allow you to track those customers for little to no cost?  That’s exactly what FourSquare does.  The service features a host of customizable tools and reporting designed especially for businesses.

That’s not to say to jump in to FourSquare without a little research.  How a business uses the service is dependent on its’ business goals.

  • Want to focus on building loyalty? Create an appealing mayor specials (and if you’re a bar – a free drink for the mayor is a good call!)
  • Interested in picking up business on a slow day? Promote a check-in contest which randomly awards customers who check in with a special offer. McDonald’s did this and saw some great results.
  • Trying to increase brand awareness? Reward customers for creating tips about your business.  Then, when a FourSquare user searches for tips in your area, your business’ rave reviews will appear.

These are just the tip of the iceberg, and as FourSquare grows, so will the opportunities for businesses.

In closing…

Location based social media services are  going to be huge!  As a junior digital marketing professional, I can’t wait to see how they grow, what new services will be offered, and how they change the face of loyalty programs.

Until then, I’ll continue to vie for the elusive Epic Swarm badge.

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