Over the last year, location-based social networks such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite have exploded among early adopters. It’s no question—with increasing adoption of smart phone usage, location-based social networks are rising in popularity every day.
Recently covered in GigaOM, CNN, Ad Age and The New York Times, Foursquare is currently one of the most buzzed about location-based mobile social networks. Intel and Ogilvy recently used Foursquare to drive traffic to and create buzz around Intel’s offline events and activities at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month.
For CES, Intel created a branded Foursquare page, featuring locations where Intel had activity and tips for Las Vegas visitors. Intel also rewarded check-in’s to key events with branded badges, paired with the chance to win an Intel-powered netbook for all badge recipients.
This exclusive collaboration allowed Intel to track and build relationships with online influencers active on Foursquare at CES. With more than 400 cumulative check-in’s to Intel-affiliated locations and events, the collaboration was a breakout success and proved to be an interesting event-based model for brands looking to work with Foursquare.
We interviewed Tristan Walker, head of business development at Foursquare, to learn more about their vision for what’s to come for brands, businesses and Foursquare.
How do you foresee Foursquare interacting with brands in the future?
We see brands using Foursquare to help guide experiences. Twitter and Facebook have shown that brands can engage with consumers online in a meaningful way. Foursquare wants to take that engagement offline and give brands tools that are necessary to lead consumers to do really interesting things rather than just suggest.
Right now, we’re very much in the experimentation stage. This is a model that is resonating with brands we’ve worked with, so we will continue doing what works for them. Of course, we will continue to gather feedback from the brands we’re currently working with to see how we can improve our product.
What are some cool ways that brands and businesses have used Foursquare?
BART, Harvard, the Brooklyn Museum—all of these brands have leveraged Foursquare for consumers and fans as curators of interesting experiences for them in their respective locations. BART serves as an expert for San Francisco, and Harvard offers tips on interesting things to do around campus. The Brooklyn Museum encourages people to check out the museum, but also gives tips on locations to visit around Brooklyn. They’ve also offered cool promotions at the venue itself. Intel has also used Foursquare in an interesting and engaging way at CES.
How will Foursquare continue working with brands to ensure that the user experience isn’t disrupted?
What we don’t want to do is make our platform seem overly “ad”-like and promotional. We aim to allow fans of brands to discover that brands are doing cool things on Foursquare, which is why we don’t have a true push model.
How has opening up Foursquare’s API enabled brands to interact with consumers on Foursquare?
Retailers like Tasti D-Lite leveraged Foursquare’s API to add a social layer on top of loyalty. They paired Foursquare check-in’s with loyalty card swipes. Every time you swipe your loyalty card, it shoots to Facebook and Twitter, alerting your followers that you redeemed “Free Tasti Points.” The more you share, the faster you can redeem rewards they offer. Going social at the point of sale is powerful.
The great thing about opening our API is that we continue to see interesting use cases on top of our platform surface. With time, we will see more interesting things pop up.
David Carlson: Social Media and Traditional PR