It’s no secret: Foursquare (and other location-based applications like it) are as hot as White Board Jenny these days (can you sense the sarcasm here?). More than 1 million people are now checking in on Foursquare each day. Businesses are starting to salivate at the data now available to them. Meanwhile user numbers continue to climb steadily each month.
Meanwhile, if you’ve been on Twitter for any length of time the last 6-9 months, you’ve undoubtetely noticed the trend. More people are broadcasting their Foursquare “check-ins” to their Twitter followers, too. Within the mobile app, this requires little more than a check of an extra box–a simple, easy way to let folks know where you are and what you’re doing.
Why wouldn’t you broadcast your check-ins via Twitter every time? It’s fast and easy, right?
I polled a few folks on Twitter earlier this week and seemed to get a mixed bag. Some were completely annoyed by the Foursquare check-ins while others thought they added value if additional context was added:
But, I will say the feedback definitely skewed a bit more toward the “annoying” side of this discussion (anecdotally). In fact, some folks were even filtering out (or unfollowing in some cases) folks who were posting check-ins via Twitter.
On the flip side, there weren’t too many people that out-and-out said they loved the check-ins on Twitter–most were of the “I put up with them if they add context to the check-in” variety. Also, the folks at HubSpot gleaned some interesting data that tells us folks who *don’t* post check-ins to Twitter (and Facebook) tend to have more friends and badges.
Now, let’s think about this from the brand perspective for a moment. Surely, people sharing their check-ins has value for brands, right? What’s not to like? Your company, hotel, restaurant or coffee shop’s brand gets shared with thousands of Twitter followers, brand affinity grows and cash registers start ringing, right?
Before we jump to conclusions, let’s consider the facts.
Each check-in on Twitter provides the name of the business and location (address). Check.
Each time you check in, you also have the opportunity to add your own context to the tweet–which some do, and some don’t. Check.
That’s it, right?
Outside of the lift (arguable) in name and brand recognition, how exactly does that help my brand again?
I’m just not sure tweeting that I’m at X location helps brands achieve key business goals online. Am I off here?
Surely, I see the value of Foursquare as a platform. I’m still an avid user (not as much as I used to be, but I still check-in once in a while). And, I clearly see the value for brands (in select circumstances). I’ve also made a concerted effort to add tips at my favorite places (Caribou, Bryant-Lake Bowl and a few other local haunts come to mind) more recently.
From a personal viewpoint, I get the benefit of checking in and scanning to see where folks are hanging out. I hear that’s how the cool kids hit the town these days and meet up at night (I wouldn’t know–haven’t been “out” in more than five years ;).
But, from a brand perspective (to be clear, I’m not an expert in location-based applications–I’ll leave that to smart folks like Wayne Sutton), I see the value of Foursquare as the ability to incent and reward customers for specific actions online–and to be able to do it with a hyper geo-targeted scope as a way to increase brand loyalty.
But, given all this, people continue to broadcast their Foursquare check-ins on Twitter anyway.
What do you think? Does broadcasting your Foursquare check-ins on Twitter really add value for brands? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Note: Photo courtesy of Nan Palmero via FlickR Creative Commons.