As social media continues its march into our lives through both our computers and our mobile devices, Foursquare is a relatively new kid on the block.
So what is Foursquare? It is what is known as a 'location-based platform', meaning that people use their mobile phone to tell others where they are and what they're doing. To use Foursquare you need to download the Foursquare app onto your phone and then use it as you visit different places. As smart phones and iphones become commonplace, social networking is taking a definite turn towards location-based networking, and Foursquare is one of the frontrunners in this race.
Foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game. Users can share comments and tips on products and services that have used, and score points by 'checking-in' to venues and places. Foursquare already has over 1 million users, and is continuing to grow by over 100,000 sign-ups each day.
The games aspect of Foursquare is played by encouraging people to visit new places and share their experiences. Users collect 'Foursquare badges' and can become 'mayor' of a place by visiting a certain place the most (like your local coffee shop or restaurant)
Socially, if you are out and about you can get notifications of where your friends are for meeting up purposes, but also to see where friends have left recommendations or tips.
The most obvious use of Foursquare is for businesses that have a street presence. A business account is free to set up and you can then send out offers and messages through the Foursquare network to encourage people to come back to your business and share it with others.
Like all social media, YOU need to decide whether you think your potential clients will be using this platform. If you do, then there is virtually zero investment risk in dipping your toes in to see if it is a marketing option that works for your business. For years now, the talk has been about 'local search' and how small business was going to be able to take advantage of this capability via the web. Between Google Buzz (article coming soon) and Foursquare, it seems the technology is here, so get on board!