Foursquare: Influencing Customer Behavior in the Real World

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a location-based web app that allows people to easily find cool locations, meet up with friends, and compete to win prizes. Foursquare is just one of many new applications that are specifically oriented toward helping people navigate the physical and cultural space in their own neighborhoods. Foursquare integrates tightly with Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks.

Why Should You Care?

Foursquare is currently home to more than 10 million members. It is a powerful social network in its own right, and its integration with Facebook and Twitter make it even more of a force to be reckoned with. But the real incentive for caring about Foursquare is that it moves people. The next decade, according to SCVNGR founder Seth Priebatsch, is one in which we use social interactions on the web to influence the behavior of people in the real world. It is the lament of those with poor social media marketing strategies that their Facebook pages don’t bring fans to their storefronts. While Facebook in itself is actually a powerful tool that can certainly be monetized and, with a little creativity, can influence real-life behavior, Foursquare is the tool that was specifically designed with this end in mind.

Here’s how it works: Foursquare works by allowing people to “check in” to a location using their smart phones – to announce their location to the world, or at least to their friends. Businesses leverage the power of check-ins by bestowing the title of “Mayor” to the individual who checks in at their location the most. One famous mayor is Michael Bloomberg, both real-life mayor of New York City and Foursquare Mayor of New York City Hall.

When businesses offer special perks to the mayor of their Foursquare location, they can begin a competitive game in which people actually jockey to check in – that is, show up – to their location more than anyone else. It turns the patronization of a business into an action-reward system, not so far different from the way in which people can “level up” in World of Warcraft or other role-playing games. It is this system of rewards that has made World of Warcraft so addicting: imagine people being just as addicted to checking into your location as they are to finishing quests on World of Warcraft. (Just don’t use your newfound powers for evil.)

The Game Layer On Top of the World

This phenomenon is the essence of what Priebatsch calls “the game layer on top of the world” – the application of game dynamics to motivate consumers to act. Instead of sitting alone in their basements interacting with friends and brands on Facebook, users are actually out in the real world, connecting with friends face-to-face and engaging with brands on-location. And the more time a customer spends at a location, the more likely they are to buy.

Leveraging Foursquare can have immediate, satisfying results for any brand with a storefront. Oozle Media is here to help you with all of your social media marketing needs, including squeezing every drop of social media goodness out of Foursquare. GET OOZLED today!

Oozle Media Oozle Media May 10 2012
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