Are you the next “Mayor”?

Can’t get enough of social media? Well neither can major companies such as Pepsi, HBO, and BravoTV. Foursquare, an application for mobile phones has quickly made its way into the social media scene and continues to add companies to its long list of members.

A little background on Foursquare: It allows people to “check-in” to wherever they are located. For instance, when visiting a cafe, bar, or restaurant, you simply “check-in” via the Foursquare application on your phone. It then notifies your “friends” of your whereabouts. Foursquare keeps track of how many times you’ve “checked-in” to the places you are visiting and compares your visits with how many times other people visit the same place. If you frequent the spot more than others, then you become the “Mayor” of the restaurant, cafe, bar, etc.

How do businesses incorporate this “geolocation” social media? Businesses have begun to utilize Foursquare as a way to offer rewards for people who become the “Mayor” of their establishment—a free coffee, free appetizer, etc. Many of the television stations are now using Foursquare to send “pings” about certain TV shows. When a user “checks-in” at a venue, they are then able to view tips, which “friends” leave about the particular venue. Recently, stations such as BravoTV and HBO leave “tips” at select locations, which are usually related to TV show characters or themes. Users who add the stations/shows as friends can view the “tips” at the locations, which then allows them to unlock “badges. “Badges” are tied to items such as real-life awards, sweepstakes, and coupons.

Will Foursquare catch on as a successful promotional tool, just as Twitter and Facebook have? The platform is still in the experimental phase, but already has the backing of big-name advertisers. It is also rumored that the developers at Facebook are creating a “check-in” feature. It will be interesting to follow Foursquare’s expansion as they have already begun discussing new campaigns with The History Channel, and a partnership with Zagat, a restaurant review guide that also allows users to publish tips about restaurants in New York, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, and Philadelphia.

Rachel Kaylor, Writer

Danielle Murray, Researcher

Mandy Baker, Design