Last Wednesday, Foursquare was launched in Vancouver at an event hosted by 6S Marketing. Foursquare is a new social media game that enables people to connect and interact with others using their mobile phones, while also identifying and tracking various places and locations visited – such as restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions.
People score points in the game by completing various tasks, such as identifying their current location using the Foursquare application (using a “Checking In” function in the app). As points are accumulated during game play, participants are awarded badges to indicate their level of achievement.
In hosting the launch event, 6S Marketing initiated a crowd-sourcing experiment to record Vancouver venues for Foursquare game play. Vancouver has a very strong and vibrant social media scene, and many notable people attended the launch event. People were encouraged to use start using Foursquare when visiting different venues. Over the weekend, I entered a few venues into the application, and even received some extra bonus points for being the first person to record them.
It will be interesting to see how Foursquare evolves, and whether it’s use takes off truly takes off. It already has gained a foothold in several US cities, and several Hollywood celebrities are using it – including Ashton Kutcher, the most followed person on Twitter.
The application does have some potential marketing applications, particularly with regards to experiential marketing for small businesses. For example, a restaurant could offer a discounted drink to someone who “Checks In” using Foursquare. In turn, people connected to that person would learn about the drink discount, and potentially be enticed to visit the venue. Incentive programs would, theoretically, increase usage of Foursquare amongst mobile users – in turn increasing the promotion that businesses listed on Foursquare receive.
That might just be the tip of the iceberg. I am going to continue to use Foursquare, and will write additional posts to update you on my experience with the application.