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Everyone Wins on Foursquare

During my childhood days in Iowa, I played Foursquare at recess and even indoors during the winter months. Now Foursquare has become a virtual game that I access on a daily basis with 540,000 other users.

The new Foursquare is a location based social networking resource that you access from your phone. Its users check into actual locations. You get points for checking into locations and may even become the Mayor of a venue. For example, I'm the Mayor of the Starbucks on 14th Street in Midtown Atlanta. Users are awarded badges for checking into certain venues or for accomplishing a certain task. If you check into 5 different Starbucks locations, you get a special badge and a free drink.

Here are some benefits of playing Foursquare:

1. In-Person Networking
Foursquare can find users that you follow on Twitter or your friend on Facebook who are also using Foursquare. You have the ability to also follow their checkins, as long as they approve of you as a friend on Foursquare. At SXSW, it was a great way to track which panels and parties people were attending.  I could use Google Maps, which is embedded into Foursquare to meet up with ideal contacts. 

2. Top of Mind Awareness
Maintaining multiple relationships over time is difficult. Foursquare allows me to show my contacts in other cities my activities when I check into venues, including my workplace. You can combat the "out of sight, out of mind" syndrome. You can connect your Foursquare account to Twitter or Facebook to update your status when you checkin, become the mayor of a location or receive a badge.

3. VIP Treatment
Many businesses offer specials when you check-in for the first time or as the mayor of their business. You also get to know other regulars that support that same local venue. Companies can create a feed of the checkins at their locations too. Your customers are announcing with pride that they are at your location. Wouldn't you like to reward them? You can also use a widget to highlight these visitors on your website: http://www.placewidget.com.

4. Real-Time Reviews
You can add tips and also read advice from others who have visited the same location. Users can also connect directly to Yelp to read additional reviews in detail. As a consumer, you will make informed buying decisions. Businesses learn ways to improve their operations and relationships with customers.

Dennis Crowley, Co-Founder of Foursquare at SXSWIf you are still in doubt, keep in mind these accomplishments that Foursquare achieved in the past year:

Over 500,000 users
Over 1,000,000 badges have been awarded
Over 1.4 million venues with 1200 offering specials
Over 15.5 million checkins

Foursquare and other geotagging options will continue to evolve and become a part of every company's social strategy.

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