adam vincenzini

Google searches for Foursquare triple in January…but creativity lagging behind…

By Adam Vincenzini, Social Media

Stats up, but creativity down for Foursquare…let’s take a look at both…

Is this another sign Foursquare about to take off? Or are just a few more people intrigued because of the increase in talk / buzz?

No matter what, there’s enough evidence to suggest it’s creeping closer to mainstream adoption.

Google Insights

According to Google Insights, searches for Foursquare have more than tripled since the end of December 2009.

Interestingly, regional interest (based on the search data) tells us seven countries in particular are showing the most interest:

United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany and France.

This comes after a recent report that indicated check-in rates have doubled in the last month.

Now, with this uplift, will we see more businesses use it as part of their broader marketing and communications mix?

The answer is more likely to be yes, and sooner rather than later.

Foursquare ‘in action’ at the moment

For me, and rather disappointingly, Foursquare is being used very literally by businesses / brands at present.

For example:

– Check-in for a special discount

– Become Mayor and treat your friend to a free meal

While that’s functional, and does incentivize people, I think a trick is being missed as so many opportunities exist to use Foursquare as the foundation for some more robust communications activity…the type of activity that will really get people talking.

Getting more creative…and creating more impact with Foursquare

I’m not normally one for giving out ideas for free, but seeing as I don’t have a client like on this books at the moment I figured it’d be OK.

Local Mayoral Candidate Checks-In On Local Business

Sorry, but this just seems so obvious to me.

If I was running for Mayor of a city, I’d pledge to visit 100 local business in the weeks leading up to an election, meeting with the staff and providing tips, via Foursquare, about that particular business.

i.e. Roger Taylor: Last seen at Joey’s Printing Co, in Hill Valley

“Joey Junior took over from Joey Senior 8 years ago and it celebrates it’s 25th birthday this year…how cool!”


The Mayoral candidate has shown his commitment to local business by making his visits, he’s adopted a technology that positions him as current and the fact that he’s running for Mayor and Foursquare awards Mayor badges makes it a fun and quirky story…and a great story for the local media.

A great example of Social Media and PR working together to amplify noise.

Other creative routes: A retailer…

Again, these seem pretty obvious to me, but if I was a retailer who had a designated charity I’d consider the following:

“Check into any of my 350 outlets across the UK this week, show one of my sales assistants in store, and I’ll donate £0.05 to our designated charity.”

Now what’s in it for the business apart from supporting the charity?

– Potentially thousands of mentions of people being in your stores over a one-week period that their extended social network is made aware of

– A unique angle in fundraising, which again, would be of interest to the media

– And importantly, your customers are actively doing some good with your help, strengthening your relationship with them

Other creative routes: An airline…

Now this might cause a stampede, but what if an airline offered a free upgrade to first class to the first five people who ‘checked-in’ on Foursquare as they ‘checked-in’ for their flight at at the ‘check-in’ desk?

Simple, but effective…and imagine how much of an impact this might have on limiting delays if everyone got to the airport on time!!

Again, another novel way of using the terminology and technology, making it fun and potentially creating news / PR off the back of it.

Now, these are quite basic mechanics, but they do illustrate what can be done with some broader thinking…I have some others up my sleeve if you’re interested 😉


  • Nehal

    A company named Sprinkles does something similar to this using their Facebook updates. The basic premise is that the first 50 people that whisper X get the cool, new cupcake of the day.

    I’m liking where you’re going with this 🙂

  • Lolly

    Nice post Adam, and I really hope to see more brands on Foursquare in the near future.

    The only one I can think of at the mo is Pop Culture magazine Dazed and Confused… I think it’s quite fun to see where they go. I would also trust their venues recommendations with my eyes closed because they’re such a cool mag.

    I did a training course with a cancer charity a few months ago and suggested they use Foursquare to map out places where people can find healthy foods… I don’t think they’ve implemented Foursquare yet in their strategy though.

    Pepsi in the States have also raised some money for charity via Foursquare last year:

    I think it could work really well too with a treasure hunt type campaign where people have to check in to reveal a clue or something.

  • LucySofiano

    Nice campaign ideas Adam. Will be interesting to see as Foursquare grows whether it becomes the predicted consumer phenomenem and marketing tool.
    There are already questions being raised about whether businesses will have to pay to promote their deals – there’s got to be a way for Dens and Naveen to secure their multi-billion dollar futures hasn’t there?

  • Adam Vincenzini

    Guys, thanks for your comments – I’m not sure why I’m so fascinated with 4sq, but it intrigues me for a lot of reasons…many of which you have all touched on above.
    Let’s keep an eye on it and see where we end up…until then, please continue to join in on the pontificating and future predictions!!

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