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Foursquare — To Fear or Not to Fear?

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Many people fear social networking sites that include a GPS, like BrightKite and the latest one, Foursquare, for fear that their safety may be in jeopardy. However, like with most social media sites, you can tweak the settings so only certain people know of your whereabouts.

By knowing this, your fear should be eliminated and you can see Foursquare for what it is — a great site for both marketers and consumers!

It works like this: Consumers sign up and can check in to different locations no matter where they are. Interestingly, the consumer may even find themselves in the same vicinity as a friend or co-worker and have an opportunity to connect. And in terms of security, the only people who can see your entries are those who you are friends with on Foursquare. You also have an opportunity to link Foursquare with Twitter and Facebook, but this is only an option.

Every time a consumer checks in to a restaurant, bar or business, he or she unlocks information. For example, if you went to a restaurant and logged in, you may find that there are particular items on the menu to order or to avoid. The consumer also has an opportunity to give a tip on a restaurant or attraction. Then, everyone who frequents that restaurant or attraction can read what that person said. This is a powerful tool, especially if the business is given high ratings.

There is also a gaming element to Foursquare as well. When a consumer checks into various places, they earn points and eventually can become the “mayor” of the place, which can earn them freebies – free coffee, free ice cream, and even free hotel stays.

For restaurants and business owners, Foursquare is a great way to promote your business. Owners can offer free products or incentives to customers using Foursquare to lure them into the establishment. Once you have a Mayor, you can offer something really special! The best part is, it’s free! There is no cost for a business to sign up and it gives a lot of exposure across a host of networking platforms.

Foursquare is used primarily on your mobile phone but you can easily see stats, your history and even your friends on your PC or Mac.

When preparing your social media plan, consider incorporating Foursquare. As more and more people get on to the site, your audience reach will expand and you can expand it even more by offering giveaways and promotions. It’s a great site for anyone who owns a business.

Lastly, don’t get caught up in thinking that Foursquare isn’t safe. If you are concerned, then adjust your settings so that only people you know can see your entries and reap all of the other benefits that you will get by using Foursquare.

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About Hilary Topper

  • JP

    Good overview! One of the interesting angles on Foursquare is its battle with competing service Gowalla.com, and that many predict Twitter and Facebook may implement this type of functionality (translated: acquire them) as their services expand.

  • Nice post / review – I think consumer education is it’s biggest challenge.
    I actually just posted something re: Foursquare on my Blog about the reluctance of females to adopt it…and I think safety is one of those factors.

  • Lori

    Interesting site. I think when more people join, it will be fun to see how many people are in the same area as you!