Now that we know the basics about location based social networking, the various platforms, and which services are shaping up to be the leaders, (check out last week’s post if you missed it) what can we do with them? Yes of course ‘we’ as the general population can use them to check-in, gain points, read and leave tips, and connect with our friends and community, but how do ‘we’ as marketers utilize this fast growing social trend to connect, engage, and gain consumers? With rewards of course! Lets look at how Foursquare is being used by forward thinking brands who have already jumped on the location bandwagon.
According to TalentZoo’s blog Beyond Madison Avenue, the great state of Pennsylvania is partnering with Foursquare to attract vacationers to visit PA this summer. “The Fantastic Roundtrip-a-Matic” campaign is targeting young travelers, and attempting to encourage them to travel. The $1.5 million campaign being promoted through web ads on travel sites provides 20 trip itineraries for visitpa.com. The promotion offers 100 Foursquare tips to attract travelers to various PA hot spots. Virtual badges have also been created that offer rewards and discounts to users depending on the amount of times they visit recommended categories: historical, dinning and shopping. The campaign is also utilizing a Facebook photo contest where the grand prize is a free hotel stay. Another tourism promotion utilizing Foursquare is for the City of Chicago, where users are challenged to recreate the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Winners receive two Southwest Airline tickets, hotel stay, and museum passes.
One of our favorite blogs, Mashable, not only writes about Foursquare, but will now be partnering with Foursquare. The “Explore your city with Mashable and Foursquare” campaign will offer insider tips and recommendations when you check-in to various places. Reporters, editors, and employees of Mashable post all tips and recommendations, offering their guide to cities across the country. Perhaps in the future we will see Mashable badges as well.
Starbucks is currently the biggest brand embracing social media, employing Facebook, Twitter, and now Foursquare. Last week at the Mashable Media Summit, Starbucks’ Vice President of Brand, Content and Online Chris Bruzzo said last year’s free pastry day attracted more than one million people to stores. The news spread solely through their social media pages for Facebook and Twitter. Other successful Starbucks social media campaigns include the Tax Day green initiative, which encouraged customers to bring in their own coffee cup in exchange for free coffee. The MyStarbucks Idea campaign was also successful, generating more than 80,000 ideas through Twitter. In fact, Starbucks has so many Twitter followers that it was one of first companies to try out Twitter’s promoted tweets ad platform. Now Foursquare will get its turn on the social media promotion rollercoaster. Starbucks is the first company to offer a nationwide Foursquare deal. Currently on Foursquare, Starbucks rewards frequent customers with Barista Badges. Their new Foursquare deal presents mayors of individual Starbucks shops across the country with the opportunity to unlock the Mayor Offer. The Mayor Offer gives mayors a money-saving perk for their frequent store check-ins. The deal: “As mayor of this store, enjoy $1 off a NEW however-you-want-it Frappuccino blended beverage. Any size, any flavor. Offer valid until 6/28.” Tristan Walker, the head of business development at Foursquare, believes Starbucks is innovative, relating and rewarding loyalty through social media. Many brands can learn from Starbucks, and I’m sure the new nationwide deal will open up possibilities with Foursquare, and encourage other brands to follow.
Bravo & Sephora
NBC-owned Bravo is partnering with Sephora and Foursquare to create a new badge, the Bravo Real Housewives Badge. Users who unlock the badge have the opportunity to receive a $100 gift card to Sephora at select stores in NJ and NY over the next four weeks. The reward works like this: Bravo or Sephora will tweet mentioning to show up at a specific store, and the first badge holder to show the manager their badge wins the gift card. Ellen Stone, Bravo TV’s senior vice president of marketing, says that the badge reward gives participants their own real housewives moment. This integrated approach is engaging and positively reaches their target.
TLC and Foursquare are partnering up to offer tips and badges for summer fun. Users can earn the TLC Summer Badge by checking into any TLC summer-tagged locations, incorporating zoos, amusement parks, swimming pools, barbeque restaurants, and additional summer fun locations. Other badges include Cupcake Connoisseur and BBQ Pitmaster, which can be earned by checking-in three times at official related locations. TLC is not the first television station to make use of Foursquare. The History Channel revealed a Foursquare campaign a couple of months ago to promote their American history series America, The Story of Us. Users who check-in to various US cities receive historical factoids about their location, and can unlock the limited edition History Channel Badge.
Other brands making the most of Foursquare: Jimmy Choo, Cynthia Rowley, Dominos, Wendys, and CNN & World Cup. Whew, that’s a lot of brands teaming up with Foursquare. You may be wondering, is Foursquare even that popular yet? The answer is yes, and growing at an astonishing rate. Foursquare is gaining around 15,000 users per day. A tweet from Foursquare recently stated that there are more than 10 check-ins per second, which means 36,000 check-ins per hour, and 864,000 per day. Twelve check-ins per second will bring the total to 1 million check-ins per day. Wow, just in January Foursquare was averaging 1 check-in per second, look at the location based social network now.
Although Time thinks Foursquare is one of the worst inventions of all time, I along with many others love it. I’ll admit, at first I thought Foursquare was slightly creepy, allowing my friends to keep tabs on where I was at all times. Many Foursquare-user-wannabees have the same privacy concerns, but there is hope, especially after exploring the privacy-related options. Foursquare gives you the option of publishing your location to Twitter and Facebook, it is not required at all. In addition, you don’t even have to tell your Foursquare friends where you are by un-checking the ‘tell my friends’ option when you check-in. This option allows you to still gain points and badges, but publishes ‘off the grid’ next to where you are, instead of the location name. Earning points, badges, and mayorships encourages users to participate in Foursquare check-ins. I believe this is only the beginning of Foursquare possibilities. With more brands signing on, and badge and mayor rewards increasing, Foursquare is definitely climbing to the top of the location based social networking trend, and perhaps even becoming a key social media platform joining the ranks with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. In my opinion, brands need to jump on the Foursquare bandwagon, and use it to engage, listen to, and gain consumers.
What types of rewards would you like to see? What other brands do you think should join Foursquare? What are some other cool Foursquare promotions going on? Let us know in the comment section, we love hearing from our fans! I’m going to go take advantage of my Mayor of Ashworth Creative status and request the rest of the day off; do you think that’s a good reward ? If you have a Foursquare and want to check out what Ashworth Creative is up to, friend us! We can always use more friends!