The digital world is buzzing these days with talk of various location based service companies, apps and future projects. In recent news, Facebook has acquired the popular location based app Gowalla and hired much of their Austin, Texas based staff to join the team in Silicon Valley in an effort to make Facebook more location based. Meanwhile, Foursquare, Gowalla’s biggest rival, has reached 15 million users, tripling its base since last year.
With all this excitement over checking in everywhere, there is little doubt that location based services are going to be the ‘it’ thing in social media marketing plans everywhere in 2012! There’s no telling how Facebook will change it’s location based offerings, but there are a few new developments to Foursquare that in my opinion, are important for brands going forward if they want to be able to compete in the digital future of retail.
Foursquare launched a couple of new features recently including a follow button that is easy to put on websites and blogs and makes it easy for people to follow you on Foursquare if they’re already reading your site, similar to a Twitter follow button. This is a gift to bloggers, businesses and brands who are trying to build their online profiles and include Foursquare among their chosen platforms. The second and most important new feature on Foursquare is the new save button. A feature that makes Foursquare similar to social platform darling Pinterest, this feature will allow you to save places that you see on the internet to your to-do list on Foursquare, similar to pinning. For brands with bricks and mortar locations, this is going to be huge! Not only will people think about coming to your location, but they might actually remember to do so now if it’s on their to-do list! It’s often easy to reach out to potential customers via Twitter or Facebook and tell them “Hey! We’re still here so stop by and see us some time” but making sure they follow through was a lot harder, until now.
Another issue that will become increasingly important is e-commerce. With Facebook most certain to become a hub for online spending, it only makes sense that other important platforms would follow suit if only to be able to compete. YouTube has already jumped on the bandwagon with YouTube films. In order to really push Foursquare forward, developers will have to find a way to incorporate e-commerce, perhaps through payment via your mobile. Or maybe the way forward for Foursquare is through advertisements and promotion deals such as the recent collaboration on Foursquare between Amex and Best Buy.
Having just upgraded their offices to a 56,000 square foot property in New York’s trendy SoHo area, I highly doubt that Foursquare will be going anywhere any time soon! I personally love Foursquare! I think it’s fun, interactive, doesn’t require you to constantly blurt things out like Twitter or Facebook status updates. I particularly enjoy how Foursquare gives you something in return, whether it’s a discount, a tip, an historical fact or just a couple of points. I look forward to seeing how Foursquare continues to change in the future and how we can incorporate this into our campaign plans for brands that would benefit from location based services.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, check out this video interview with Dennis Crowley, the founder of Foursquare. He’s certainly come a long way since he used to run small digital operations from his parents’ house.Tweet