I’m a foursquare loser baby, so why don’t you kill me.

Posted on July 1, 2010. Filed under: Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , |

When I first heard about foursquare, I immediately became nervous.  As I work for clients in PR and marketing, I should be up to speed on all the latest and greatest social media tools.  However, I had no idea what foursquare was.

Now who doesn't want to use an app that gets you recognized by bartenders?

So I decided to jump in, like I did with Twitter.  I planned to sign up and track my every movement over foursquare for one month.  Here’s what I learned:

  • Get the mobile app. If you’re a smartphone user, this is a no-brainer.  I am sure there are ways to update foursquare using something like text messaging as well.  Being that I had no idea how to use text messaging until the iPhone’s fancy interface came along, I would be the wrong person to ask about that.  But the fact is, foursquare’s fairly useless if you’re just updating where you’ve gone at the end of the day.  The usefulness lies in the ability to meet up with friends who are coincidentally at or near your location and get deals nearby – it’s a right here, right now play.
  • Consider your personal brand when checking in. Foursquare gives you the ability to choose to alert your Facebook and Twitter networks to your location.  But, as my husband has pointed out, “Nobody cares that you just got coffee in front of your office building.” So, think about what you want your personal brand to say before you broadcast.  Use Twitter mostly for business? Maybe you don’t want to broadcast that you just checked-in to the bar across from your office at 2pm on a Tuesday.  Trying to look hip and interesting to your Facebook friends?  Maybe you don’t want to let them know you just became mayor of your grocery store.
  • Accept that foursquare is built for the young. When I checked in at the Newark, NJ train station one early morning at 5:45am to catch a train for a business meeting in Boston, I was rewarded with a “School Night” badge, for “checking in after 3:00am on a school night.”  Clearly, Four Square assumed I had been partying until sunrise.  Personally, I think if your friends let you end up at the Newark Train Station at sunrise after a night of drinking, you need new friends.  But maybe I’m just on the wrong side of 30.
  • Try it out as a local city guide. I still get the question, “Okay I get how it works – but what is the point of foursquare?”  Well, picture yourself in an unfamiliar neighborhood, looking for a place to grab dinner or a drink.  Maybe you have a city guide handy, or can stop by a newsstand and buy one.  But will those guides show you specifically what’s closest by and who has a happy-hour special, with tips from regulars? Probably not.  For local businesses, foursquare offers a huge opportunity for immediate redemption of offers, with a clear ROI in the social media channel.  And as foursquare’s subscriber base grows, so will the opportunity.

So give foursquare a shot if you haven’t yet! At the very least, it might make you famous at your local watering hole.  Last night at The Long Room, our standard after-work drinks location, the bartender saw me and said, “Hey look who’s here, the former mayor!” Now who doesn’t want to use an app that gets you recognized by bartenders?

Jennifer Hoffmann is the Manager of Media Consulting for clients using Dow Jones Insight and related tools for media analysis.  She is based in New York, NY.

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One Response to “I’m a foursquare loser baby, so why don’t you kill me.”

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very interesting. maybe I’ll check out foursquare … after all I don’t want to be left out on the wrong side of 30 (lmao)

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