November 18th 2011
Nobody can ignore the impact social media has had on marketing and sales practices. Any new platform that will keep both employees and customers engaged is one that cannot be overlooked or ignored, especially in the world of b2b marketing. But just how useful is the location-based, game-like, Foursquare in our efforts to improve SEO and engage with our audiences?
On first view Foursquare seems nothing more than a ‘check-in’ service that allows its ten million users to follow your every move – scary eh?. Even more concerning is Foursquare’sability to auto-post through to Facebook and Twitter accounts so that you’re bombarded with what your friends are doing every minute of the day – whether you like it or not. But scratch a little deeper and you may be surprised what benefits lie hidden for those of us trying to fully integrate all available forms of social media platforms in to our b2b marketing campaigns.
For marketers, Foursquare offers a unique opportunity to promote businesses and brands in real-time by engaging with clients and customers whilst they are checked in to a particular location. The potential to create loyal customers is ours for the taking, offering useful tips and insights into both the brand and the location – just make sure any comms you offer aren’t written in marketing jargon or blatant sales-speak. After all, Foursquare is about adding value, not bombarding people with irrelevant or badly-timed marketing messages. Tips left by customers are even more valuable, adding to the brand experience and your own brand advocacy. Working along-side this is its feature to allow us to offer coupons or vouchers to those that check-in to our location and guess what? Vouchers have a strong word of mouth potential, spreading our brand further afield by people considered reliable. So for example, if you’re a manufacturer selling through retailers, you can offer vouchers targeting end-users as they enter one of your retailer locations – all controlled through your own Foursquare account. Obviously, it would be a good idea to ensure you have channel approval first!
The best feature of Foursquare – in my opinion anyway- is the considerable amount of information available to us, generated purely by end-user interaction. By engaging with your audience and growing your follower base to include potential and current customers it will give you a wealth of useful information about behaviour patterns, and their likes and dislikes – giving you that all important insight to fine turn the content of your marketing campaign. We’re even given a Venue Stats Dashboard, providing the necessary tools to tailor messages and maximise our offerings based on behaviour analytics and real-time observations,
Foursquare could potentially be a major tool for us mere b2b marketing individuals with a little innovative thinking about how we use the platform; providing the potential to build loyalty, offer discounts and promotions, and enhance one-on-one relationships with end-user purchasers. But it order to reach its full potential, and be the social site we need it to be, Foursquare will need to continue the impressive 3400% growth it saw in 2010, as without critical mass it cannot truly be a social service, in b2b or in the consumer sector. Indeed, let’s hope the geeks at Foursquare develop the product to really fit with the unique demands we b2b marketers have. We have our own thoughts here at Marketecture about how the platform could be truly exploited in the b2b environment so watch this space – this time next year…..