Many people donât understand the appeal of the location-based check-in apps. They either don't get the concept, don't understand why anyone cares where they're located, or they feel it's too intrusive. Despite the skepticism, Foursquare has over 10 million users. There's certainly an appeal. Here are six reasons why I'm a fan:
1. Foursquare's partnership with American Express. To put it simply, this partnership incentivises check-ins. This is a highly strategic move from a business and marketing standpoint. In this recession-battered economy, people want deals. They need
Itâs simple to use:
- Â link your AmEx and foursquare accounts (you can do it here);
- Â check in at a participating store and tap âload to cardâ on the Special;Â and,
- Â pay with your AmEx card.
Thereâs no cutting out coupons or showing your phone to the cashier. The savings are automatically credited to your account within a few days.
Data portability is huge, and we're going to see a whole lot more of it in the coming years.
2. The seamless ability to add photos. This is just one of the many ways that organizations can maximize their online presence. Adding photos to a location increases brand presence and brings companies to life. It provides context. The organization is no longer just a spot on a map, it engages anyone who may want to visit while promoting interactivity. This ability also allows users to feel that they've added value. For example, on a visit to the Red Rocks Park Ampitheatre in Denver, I added one out of the 192 photos. The photos uploaded at this location allow potential visitors to get a feel for the park from the perspective of an average visitor.
3. Personalization of shared experiences. This is yet another way for non-profits or businesses to engage with their customers or users. Foursquare provides the ability to leave a tip at a location you've visited. Many people use this feature for restaurants or hotels. But if you're a non-profit, there are many ways you can make this feature work in your favor. For example, if your non-profit is international with various locations all over the world, Foursquare allows users to review or provide an interesting fact about each location they've visited. This transparency promotes accessibility, which in turn promotes the organization in a cohesive way.
4. Fun culture. Co-founder explains in this video how he created a corporate culture from scratch:
We've made steps to make sure that people could contribute in any way that they want to. People could come to any meeting that they wanted. People are encouraged to speak up on things that they think would make the product better. And I think that by making it all-inclusive and involving everyone in a lot of the process, it makes us feel more like one big team that's working together. And year, it just kind of happened. It's fun and playful and it's representative of the product.”
5. Memorable name. The co-founder wanted to name it after the playground game Four Square because it's “fun and playful.” It's also easy to share and spread the name on Twitter (fsq). I'll take it.
6.Â NYC. They're ahead of its competition Gowalla for the time being, coincidentally because of their physical location. While Gowalla is located in the more spread-out city of Austin, NYC has the edge because of its early adapters. For initial growth, it's crucial for users to be able to find their friends actively using the same platform so that they spread the word organically. For a location-based app, they got the location right.