“Boom! Foursquare crosses 2 Million Users!” announced TechCrunch in a recent headline. It got me wondering. There are 2 million users, but where are all the businesses that can provide rewards for those users?
I’ve been commenting on Foursquare and location-based social networks for a while now. I think location-based services are moving mainstream and I believe Foursquare currently has the momentum to break away from the pack, mainly because of the name recognition from all of us talking about it. Foursquare lists 1.4 million businesses worldwide, but how many of those businesses are leveraging Foursquare and other location-based social networks to really connect with customers?
Businesses have been slow to embrace location-based networks. These networks are now providing businesses with real time analytics about their visitors such as: most recent visitors, frequent visitors, time of day folks check-in, gender breakdown, and portion of check-ins shared on Twitter and Facebook. Businesses can use this information to gain and keep customers. The “specials nearby” function on Foursquare can lure new customers to their business. They can also use this information to reward repeat customers.
When Foursquare started in 2009, it seemed very Coast focused at the time. I lived in Lexington, KY, which is a mid-size city with a population of about a quarter million, and Lexington did not even register as an option on Foursquare. When I dove into Foursquare in the beginning of this year, there was hardly any activity and I found myself having to manually enter most venues. A couple months passed and a lot more venues listed on Foursquare. I’m starting over now that I’ve moved to a small town in rural eastern North Carolina. Other than Starbucks, I’ve yet to be rewarded as a user, and that’s a shame.
So what’s stopping businesses from adopting Foursquare and other location-based social networks into their marketing mix?
What are your thoughts?