Yes, I think it’s childish to want to earn a “virtual” award. And yes, I do worry that robbers are going to break into my house when I’m enjoying a steak in the city. But despite all this, I will risk it. Yup, I am now a Foursquare user. It’s not because I want my friends (I don’t have that many!) to track me down when I’m out on the town. Rather, it’s to help promote my blog – my brand – ME.
Foursquare and other hyper-local, mobile-connected services are evolving into the next big marketing wave, and if you’re not engaged yet, you will be soon. Close to two million people already are…and growing.
Here are the reasons why I decided to join, and why you should consider as well.
I recently blogged about 5 Places to Find Blog Post Ideas. Well I’d like to introduce you to #6: Foursquare.
By learning your readers habits, you will not only have access to a gold mine of blog post ideas (and deliver what your readers want), but you will also be able to monitor trends. Insight into readers is one of the biggest hurdles that bloggers have to overcome. Without a budget for focus groups and traditional research, many of us take a leap of faith on who our audience really is. Getting your readers to friend you on Foursquare, gives you a glimpse into the products they buy, the restaurants they eat in, and how they spend a lot of their time. You don’t have to be a marketing expert or publishing pro to understand that this is valuable data.
A growing number of journalists are using FourSquare to get the word out on breaking stories. This can save your life (unlikely but possible)! When Times Square was evacuated in May because of Faisal Shahzad’s faulty bomb-making skills, The Wall Street Journal “checked in” to the vicinity and warned nearby Foursquare users.
Get Readers Involved
The majority of people never take their online relationships offline. I’m not suggesting that I want random readers walking up to me at the supermarket, but there could be a time and place where it would be great to have a face-to-face interaction. Foursquare makes that possible. It’s ideal to use at industry conferences and other networking events where you are trying to connect with other bloggers and/or readers.
Also, bloggers should not underestimate the the psychological incentive of Foursquare badges. These “virtual awards” are handed out by business owners. You can always create a badge of your own when readers visit a certain place.
Twitter geolocation will continue to keep the number of people “on the grid” on the rise. Are you willing to put yourself on the radar?