When local business listings and social media come together, the result can be a real knockout.
Foursquare has been one of the biggest contenders in this fight, using its local search and discovery service to carve a real niche in the marketplace. It has the ability to push notifications and advertising messages to a user depending on where they are physically located, using your smart phone’s internal GPS unit. For example, if you are walking by a Starbucks, Foursquare can sense your position and push out a notification inviting you to come and meet their new barista Jacob, who makes a mean pumpkin spice latte. This geo- specific form of advertising can be a great way to lure new customers who are passing by your business place while using the Foursquare app. Local geographically based advertising will be a big part of the future of advertising and is one of the strongest features that has up to this point, separated Foursquare from the pack.
In addition to this useful feature, Google sees Foursquare as a heavy hitter. There are a few ways in which Google rates listings in directories and they rate Foursquare with the highest rating available (9/10). What does this mean for businesses? It means you want to have your business listing on Foursquare, because it can help your ranking on Google, which in turn can help give your company increased visibility in the marketplace.
While visibility and geo advertising are certainly valuable, not everyone has been thrilled with the direction Foursquare has taken as a company. During a period of growth, they eventually got too big for their britches and decided they would better serve their users by splitting their software application into two pieces. One of the major draws of the original Foursquare application to consumers was the capability of using its social media platform to interact with their friends who also used the software. For example, users could earn badges or check-in to different locales and see what their amigos were up to. When the software divided, this social media interaction was moved from Foursquare into an separate app called Swarm. This move caused the original app to lose users. Unfortunately for Foursquare, early adaptors poorly reviewed the Swarm application. Since it’s original launch, Swarm has seen improvements that suggest consumers are slowly warming up but momentum has yet to reach that of the original Foursquare application.
Looking to the future, we will undoubtedly see changes to Foursquare and Swarm as Foursquare fights to maintain it’s market share in light of competing products offered by Google, Yelp and Facebook. For now, the local discovery GPS based advertising and its relationship to Google may be the company’s saving graces.
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