Foursquare Pages, Not Just For Big Brands

Foursquare has announced the availability of Foursquare Pages for companies, brands and other organisations.  While still buggy since it was made public yesterday the concept will focus on having a one-stop Page that will allow users to share tips, reach new fans and gain new followers on this location-based social networking platform.

Geo-marketing is a concept that has been around for many years and focuses on using geolocation ‘in the process of planning and delivering marketing activities based and tailored on the location of the audience.’  Foursquare adds the concept of the community to the marketing to enable organisations to tap into and benefit from recommendations that our own social communities share – best table at this restaurant, great shop for vintage, great customer service at this shop, etc.  The problem though is that after over 2 years since Foursquare was unveiled it is still seen as a game and an experiment by many businesses.  It has not been adopted, yet!

The opportunities for businesses though are enormous.  After all, the theory goes that if you reward your customers then they should recommend the business to their own community.  Some brand specific Foursquare campaigns have yielded interesting results, but the use is still restricted to those that are connected, are social networking enthusiasts and have smartphones – not your average consumer.

From my experience, I see that local businesses in South East Asia have taken to geo-marketing with more individuality than in Western European cities.  In London the standard offer is a discount for the Mayor of a venue – bar, restaurant, shop.  That is it.  Rare to see the rewards for ‘checking-in’ that you see in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta, such as discounts and free gifts just for visiting and ‘checking in.’  Perhaps it is a cultural point.

Customer facing businesses will only gain the benefits from geo-marketing if they develop suitable rewards that encourage customers to develop their loyalty.  After all, the technology alone won’t improve the bottom-line, for this you have to look at the business from a consumers perspective.

Foursquare and other services are ideally placed to help small and medium sized businesses (SME’s) because it isn’t just about rewards, but about accessing the recommendations from members of our networks.

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