Foursquare Part I - The Basics on Points, Badges & MayorshipsBy MarketingXLeratorThis article focuses on learning the basics of Foursquare, how to get set up, use it, and why.I finally decided to get serious about Foursquare. Before I can understand how to use it for B2B marketing,step 1 is to play with the app and test it for personal use. Once I understand how it works, I will apply mylearnings to B2B usage. This will be covered in a future blog.First, sign up for an account, I had already done this but needed to retrieve my password and update myprofile. This happens under your picture/name in a little drop down under "Settings" on theFoursquare webpage. Of course, you can do all of this through the app, but personally, I dont like setting myself up on atiny little screen. Your choice.YOUR PROFILE (Update under Settings)Simply upload a picture, write a description about yourself and decide how much other information youwant to provide.PRIVACY SETTINGS & NOTIFICATIONSMake sure to go through the notification settings and privacy settings so that they can meet your needs andcomfort level. I dont need to get notifications every time somebody likes my check-ins, but Id like to knowwhen somebody else mentions me, for example.SHARING WITH OTHER NETWORKSFrom my friends, I have seen them share their locations on Twitter and Facebook via Foursquare. Thequestion here is, why are you using Foursquare? Probably you want your network to see where you are;maybe so you can connect or simply to share your preferences (e.g. Starbucks vs. Peets). In my case, Isimply want to test the app, nothing else. I decided to check the option of sharing selective information onFacebook, but not on Twitter, as I mainly use Twitter for business.CONNECTED APPSThere seem to be a ton of apps that add additional features to Foursquare, like Sonar: Informs you of yourconnections to interesting people nearby (note: I installed Sonar via iTunes & it then showed up in my"Connected Apps" tab on Foursquare). More details on the latest connected apps here. I will reviewindividual apps in a future blog post in more depth. This is my general recommendation for clients: to avoidgetting overwhelmed, start small, gain a comfort level and then build on top of that know-how.
PHONE APPObviously, Foursquare is useless if you dont install the app on your mobile device so that you can check inat the different locations you visit: there is an official app for the iPhone, Droid and Blackberry, plus someother unofficial apps. You can get the official app here or simply install it through iTunes or other appstores.HOW TO USE IT?To check-in, launch the phone app and click on "check-in". Using your GPS, the app suggests locationsaround you to pick from. You can also add comments for your friends; maybe a note if you thought theplace was good or where to park. I picked a coffee store close to my location to check-in and was rewardedwith a pop up: "You unlocked your first badge. Newbie". I can now see who of my friends have checked inat the coffee store in the past. There is also some verbiage that sounds like advertising from the coffee shopdisguised as "Popular Tip".When I click on explore on the app, I see a map of my town with a list of pins that show stores thatFoursquare has decided to recommend to me. Its called "Top Picks". It includes a shopping mall,restaurant, movie theater etc. I see my favorite Peets store and "save" it, then there is an option to add it to"My-to-do-list". I assume this is for restaurants or places I want to remember to check out in the future.Under "Top Picks", I can choose from eight different categories to explore. Next to "Top Picks", I can clickon my current location, which takes me to a map. There I can click on the current location and do a searchfor a different location, e.g. San Francisco. My "Top Picks" are then displayed for San Francisco.Under Natascha, I see widgets with my friends, stats, photos (empty), tips, badges and lists. I have onebadge, 34 friends and one item (Peets) on the list. Under stats, I see my points, and a comparison to two ofmy friends who have points slightly above and below me. I also see where I checked in and whichcategories I have so far explored most = coffee shops.WHAT IS THE POINT?As I can see it, the main purpose of Foursquare for personal use is to stay connected with friends by lettingthem know where you are at a particular moment, to leave recommendations for friends, and to useFoursquare to locate restaurants and places. There is a list function that shows recommendations from otherusers.If you are the competitive type, youll enjoy getting points, badges and mayorships for your check-in. Itslike playing a game with your friends. You earn at least one point for every check-in. The person whochecked in the most at a place via the past 60 days becomes the mayor. To be eligible for mayorship, besure to upload a picture. Badges are for a bit of extra fun in particular categories. Then you can compareyour "accomplishments" with your friends.Finally, and here is the part that I find most appealing: some businesses provide rewards for frequentcheck-ins, e.g. a 10% discount for a coffee. Ask at your favorite places what you can earn for being a loyalcustomer.If you are an avid Foursquare user, Id love to hear about your experience, tips, does and donts. 2