Most of the books and information I've read about the phenomenon that is foursquare centers on how and why people should use it. What I haven't seen much on is how and why a business should use foursquare as an integral part of their customer relationships. That gap is now eliminated with Carmine Gallo's new book The Power of foursquare: 7 Innovative Ways to Get Your Customers to Check In Wherever They Are. He makes a compelling argument as to why a business can't afford to ignore foursquare, complete with examples and case studies on companies that see a direct bottom-line result. Add in the fact that foursquare costs them nothing to use, and it's a no-brainer.
Contents: Introduction - What's All the Fuss About?; Connect Your Brand; Connection Superstars; Harness New Fans; Newbie Ringleaders; Engage Your Followers; Super Users; Create Rewards; Super Mayors; Knock Out the Competition; Swarm Masters; Incentivize Your Customers; Local heroes; Never Stop Entertaining; Crunked Kings; 10 Pitfalls to Avoid; Foursquare Founders in Their Own Words; Conclusion - Your Turn to Check In; Notes; Index
Using the CHECKIN acronym (Connect, Harness; Engage; Create; Knock; Incentivize; Never) as found in the chapter headings, Gallo builds the case for the value of foursquare to any business, both large and small. Using a large number of examples from an array of various sized businesses, he shows how reaching people based on their current location and choices, coupled with the possibility of receiving rewards or special recognition, turns a normal customer interaction into a "wow" experience that builds both loyalty and buzz. Even better, using foursquare is completely free! For instance, the Corcoran Group, a real estate firm in New York, uses foursquare to leave tips and inside information on foursquare that are pushed to people who follow their company on their mobile devices. These location-specific tips are pushed to the individual when they check in somewhere. No, it doesn't directly sell a house to a customer. What it does do is establish them as an expert in knowledge about the area, which *does* translate into interest and sales when someone goes to buy a house. This type of highly focused information works for them 24/7, and costs them nothing other than the time and effort to create the tips.
Probably one of my favorite examples is the AJ Bombers restaurant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 2008, the place was close to going under due to the economy and a lack of business. Joe Sorge, the owner, knew he had to do something drastic if he wanted to save the restaurant, but he had no budget for advertising. He decided to start using the social network tools of Twitter and Facebook to market to a tech-savvy crowd that caters to their online connectiveness. As AJ Bombers built up followers and catered to that group, things started to turn around. But when Sorge put foursquare into the mix, things exploded. Users started leaving tips for others, which lead to more people trying the restaurant. Sorge organized events around foursquare, such as Swarm parties so foursquare users could earn the Swarm badge. He had an "I'm On A Boat" party for people to unlock that badge (no, they're not on a river, and yes, it's possible). Add in special menus for the Mayor of AJ Bombers, winning a burger competition from another restaurant that had owned the title for 10 years, and wireless access points named "don't forget to check in on foursquare", and the place has been transformed into a must-visit location. They even have investors who want to take the place national. He owes most of his success to social media, and the vast majority of that is due to foursquare.
I had dropped my foursquare account a while back as I was wondering if it was really worth it. While this isn't a book targeted at the users of foursquare, it did cause me to start back up again if nothing more than to study how different companies are using the site to build their customer relationships. Either way, The Power of foursquare should be high on the reading list of anyone who is looking to connect with their current customer base and go beyond normal "advertising."
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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CARMINE GALLO is the communications coach for the world’s most admired global brands. A former anchor and correspondent for CNN and CBS, Gallo has addressed executives at Intel, Cisco, Google, Medtronic, Pfizer, and many others. Gallo writes My Communications Coach, a regular column for Forbes.com. He has written several internationally bestselling and award-winning books, including The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs and The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs. Gallo has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Success Magazine, and on CNBC. Gallo, who lives in Pleasanton, California, with his wife and two daughters, may be found online at www.carminegallo.com.