There's a lot of talk these days about foursquare and other geolocation apps and services. Most marketers are excited about the possibilities to be able to connect with customers based on their proximity to your store or service. Many, however, wonder if they're worth it now. But, if you don't think Foursquare works for business, you haven't met me.
Foursquare combines geotagging your location with game qualities, like earning badges for certain accomplishments, becoming mayor of your favorite establishments (and ousting someone else in the process) or having the most points on your leader board. Critics say none of this matters. I'm living proof that it does.
I know it's kind of silly, but just last week some of us went to a new diner that opened up near our office. When I checked in there, I was the first one to do so and I added the venue to the foursquare database. That night I stopped at the wine shop near my home to pick up a few things. When I checked in, I was informed I had become the mayor of the shop. That made me mayor of 9 different places all at once. I knew there was a "Super Mayor" badge for being the mayor of 10 places. I also knew if I checked in again at the diner by my office, there was a good chance that would make my mayor there, too (you have to have at least two check-ins and have the most check-ins in the past 2 months to be mayor). So, I stopped there on my way to work the next morning and had breakfast, just so I could earn my Super Mayor's badge. That's a meal they wouldn't have sold, if I wasn't using foursquare.
I know it's not real prevalent social network yet, but it's growing in popularity very quickly. There are plenty of people like me out there who are going places because of what it does for them on foursquare. Others will follow these early adapters, as they are the trend-setters. Now, imagine if businesses were actually using foursquare to it's full potential and offering rewards or planning events around earning particular badges. Some are already. Starbucks has a special badge for checking in at 5 different Starbucks. Yep, I stopped at 5 different ones in the past few weeks to earn that badge too. (it's not like they're hard to find). But, without the incentive, I would have gone to Biggby Coffee or just waited and had the free coffee at the office.
The point is, forward thinking businesses are starting to figure out how to use this now. And they'll be ahead of the curve once the rest of the business world figures it out. We just finished a foursquare plan for one of our restaurant clients. It's not hard. Just takes a little knowledge and a little creativity to put something together that will tap into the tool as it is now, while positioning you for the geolocation and augmented reality rush to come later.