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Get an ‘I Voted’ Badge on Foursquare for Voting!


Heading to the voting booths on November 2nd? Don’t forget to check in on Foursquare as part of the I Voted Project for your I Voted badge!

A variety of organizations partnered up for this project – including Foursquare, Rock the Vote, Pew Center, Google and the Voting Information Project. Data will be collected for 107,000 polling places and users that check in, and include #ivoted in their hashtag, get the I Voted virtual sticker. Voters can also check the official website (elections.foursquare.com) to view interactive real-time maps and get breakdown data such as demographics.

Eric Friedman, director of business development at Foursquare said in a statement, “We’re excited to work with such an amazing group of partners to harness the power of Foursquare to drive civic engagement through the ‘I Voted’ badge. With over 4 million users, Foursquare is now at the scale where checkins communicate a larger trend and we’re excited to make this data more accessible to the public.

Jordan Raynor, president of Direct Media Strategies and founder of the I Voted Act.ly Petition, said that the project had three purposes: “To encourage civic participation through the distribution of the “I Voted” foursquare badge; to increase transparency by visualizing how many voters are checking-in, and at which polling locations; and to develop a replicable and scalable system to use for the 2012 presidential elections and beyond.

Will you be claiming an I Voted badge? And how long do you think it will be until we can just vote from our phones?

Foursquare Check-In Campaigns: Worthwhile for Consumers?


Earlier this month, ClickZ published “The Best and Worst Campaign Deals on Foursquare’s Turf,” featuring some of the perks of using the service to announce where you’re shopping/eating/etc. It became one of the top-clicked SmartBrief on Social Media stories last week.

I’ve been a resistant Foursquare user. At first, I thought the idea was not only lame, but dangerous. I agree with Nikki’s post last week, in which she noted that she doesn’t exactly want the world to know where she and her kids are at all time.

But now, more and more companies are jumping on board with check-in campaigns, like the ones featured in the ClickZ article, and I’m not only warming up to the idea of using a location-based service, but I’m actually falling in love with the way it’s helping businesses.

Some of the best campaigns, as noted in the article, include those being run by Paul Frank, Ann Taylor, and Gap. At all of these locations, you’ll receive a percentage off your total purchase if you check in a certain number of times. You could receive even more if you become mayor at the location in some cases. Other stores are running similar promotions, and restaurants are giving free food.

Shoppers as Advertising Tools

Let’s say I’m on vacation and do some shopping. If I see something I want at Gap, I’d be more likely to wait until I get home to make the purchase, since I’ve already checked in there a number of times and qualify for their discount. Or, if I’m doing some shopping online, I’m more willing to get my lazy tush to the store to make the purchase, just so I could check in get the discount.

Face value, that doesn’t mean much for the company. Ok, so you’re going to buy a dress at one Gap location instead of the other. Big deal, the money still goes to Gap. That may be true, but the point is that you’re checking in and announcing to others that you’re shopping at a Gap store. You just did a mini advertisement for the company.

Impulse Shopping

Does that make me want to shop at the store more than I already do? Actually, I’m surprised to say it, but yes. And I’m not an impulse shopper, usually!

I’m more likely to stop by a store just so I can check in, even if I don’t have plans to make a purchase, so that I can be the mayor and qualify for discounts or free stuff. While there, I might just be browsing, but we all know that window shopping often leads to purchases. By offering me an incentive to check in, they’re getting me in the door, and that’s half the battle.

I actually find myself doing this even for places that don’t offer incentives. I want to be the mayor at my local Red Robin, so when we’re trying to decide where to eat, I’m more likely to suggest Red Robin to my friends. Why? I have no idea! It’s just tapping into some primal human urge.

If I knew that a restaurant I like in my area was doing some kind of Foursquare promotion, though? Game over. That’s where I’d be more likely eat. It’s a point of pride to be the mayor somewhere, but if you get a discount or free stuff on top of that? Yeah, like I said, game over.

Supporting Local Businesses

The reason I love Foursquare campaigns the most, though, is that it seems to be helping out local businesses. For the vast majority of people, most of your check-ins are going to be local to where you live. I’ve mentioned before that Foursquare is making me more likely to wait until I’m back from vacation or get off the Internet to make a purchase. It’s still money into the corporation’s pocket, right?

Yes, but a company isn’t going to keep a location in your area open if it’s not making any money. You’re still supporting a local business that is employing local people. In some cases, there’s even a local owner, not just a location manager. And when one local business is thriving, others in the area will as well. If I go to Gap to check in, there’s a good chance that I’ll grab dinner while I’m out and stop by some other stores as well. Foursquare is definitely helping out the local economy.

I guess, the point of this post is to encourage you to sign up for Foursquare if you aren’t already. If you’re resistant to the idea, don’t worry; you are not alone. But give it a chance before you dismiss the service. There are not only perks in it for you, but you’re also helping your neighbor businesses thrive.

Here’s the full list of last week’s top 10 Stories from SmartBrief on Social Media:

  1. How to use Facebook to poach your rivals’ biggest fans
  2. Twitter unleashes a torrent of new revenue streams
  3. 7 ways to produce actionable content marketing
  4. Social-media marketing is child’s play
  5. Is social-media marketing an art or a science?
  6. Can marketers combine social media and e-mail?
  7. 5 successful location campaigns — and 5 big losers
  8. The 9 traits of a successful social-media manager
  9. Why you should think about scrapping your Facebook strategy
  10. 6 basic tactics every social-media marketer needs

Allison Boyer is a writer for BWE’s blog and the owner/manager of After Graduation. This post is part of BlogWorld’s weekly partnership with SmartBrief on Social Media to bring you the most popular stories in social media.

Is There ROI In Location Based Marketing?


Justin McHood

If you are a business, is it time for you to start paying attention to location based marketing applications like Foursquare and Gowalla?

As adoption velocity of social applications appears to be increasing at an increasing rate, chances are that you will be hearing more about companies using applications like Foursquare in innovative ways to answer the basic marketing questions:

  • What makes people come to my store and buy something?
  • What makes them buy more when they are in my store?
  • What makes them come back and buy again once they have left?

And when developing a strategy around these basic marketing questions, it may make a lot of sense to start utilizing location based marketing services to your advantage.

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Is Foursquare The New Twitter?


I have recently been using Foursquare on my Blackberry Storm smartphone.  I believe it is only in the beta version at this point for Blackberry users but anyone and nearly everyone with an iPhone are using it in our world, The application is still working a little clunky and not the best of user experience but I like the idea behind it. What is foursquare?  This gives you a brief look:

People use foursquare to “check-in”, which is a way of telling us your whereabouts. When you check-in someplace, we’ll tell your friends where they can find you and recommend places to go & things to do nearby. People check-in at all kind of places – cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices. You’ll find that as your friends use foursquare to check-in, you’ll start learning more about the places they frequent. Not only is it a great way to meet up with nearby friends, but you’ll also start to learn about their favorite spots and the new places they discover.

I unlocked my badge for my first check in spot yesterday. I was not a monumental moment but it did go out on my Twitter stream to all my followers and friends.  Speaking of Twitter, I was just thinking of what it was like the first time I tried it.  I remember hearing of the Twitter application in early 2007 from Robert Scoble  just before I went down to SXSW in Austin, Texas. It was there that Twitter went ballistic and is where it is today.  My first experience with Twitter came with it the thought of “meh”, and frankly my experience of Foursquare was the same.  It is in the overall experience that we will someday perhaps call Foursquare the new Twitter.

When I signed up for Foursquare I was able to click a few of my friends and invite them as friends as well.  Most of those were from Twitter and Facebook.  Since that time I have been getting email after email asking for me to join communities of others and it is becoming much like Twitter.  I wonder if we will get the Foursquare suggested user list and the best mayors across the country, and the top 100 Foursquare players and so on until it becomes the popular rising star Twitter became.  I think Foursquare and its sister service Gowalla may need to be watched in 2010.  These services may become the next thing Oprah has to use.  I’ll be your friend on Foursquare but the only thing I think I am the Mayor of at this point is my couch.

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