I am seeing more and more people succumb to the lure and magic of Foursquare, and it tickles me. Even the staunch holdout, @thebrandbuilder, finally conceded to join and in short order earned the Oversharer Badge, which was hysterical. But I have some concerns about whether or not locations who are jumping into the Foursquare fray really know what they’re doing with the checkin-and-reward system.
That social media personalities have a touch of vanity that serves as a driver for participating in online antics could go without saying, but it should not. It is this underlying note you’re playing with when you seek to engage people using an interactive mechanism, so it’s important to understand how to work with the psychology of people like us if you want to get the most out of your social marketing efforts on Foursquare and other sites like it.
I read an article that says in some places, Mayors can jump to the head of the line if they’re present, and that is a perfect example of the type of elitist reward that should be offered to someone who visits a busy establishment so much that they earn the title of Mayor.
I was at Starbucks yesterday (Wayne R. I am coming for you, by the way!) and was very disappointed to see that their highly touted rewards program is nothing more than a push for the latest stuff they’re pimping at the drive-thru: right now it’s $1 off a frappucino. That’s just not good. What if the Mayor comes there everyday for a blueberry muffin, or a half-caf/half-decaf sugar-free soy latte is their preference? You’ve now said, with your flimsy $1 coupon on something unwanted or needed, that the Mayor’s presence is not really appreciated. At $3-7 a pop per visit (and let’s face it, some of us go daily or not at all), a customer who is Mayor of a Starbucks location is A Big Deal. So roll out the red carpet and actually REWARD them, or find some other game to play. The $1 coupon would be far better if it were on something the Mayor wants to have – do you see the difference?
My fabulous friend @bobbyrettew and I were just discussing how we long to open a little restaurant of our own on a beach somewhere and use Foursquare and Twitter to play games with patrons and also provide them services. For example, we would:
- offer a free beer to someone who checks in
- give a certificate to a random person who checks in and then sees the Twitter post telling them they won
- let people use Twitter to call our taxi service for a ride home
- post clues to hidden prizes on Facebook, like a scavenger hunt
- let people tweet their restaurant order from the beach or poolside and have it delivered
- let frequent customers pay their tab with no CC on hand because we have their info saved in our system
- give the Mayor a pitcher of Sangrita (Sangria-infused margarita) and pineapple salsa on the house when He or She arrives
- have our dry cleaning service pick up the partied-in clothing if needed, from a tweet request
- let people request songs from the band via Twitter
- have a live video feed of the band, the beach and the party piped online using our Intefy product
- have kiosks and displays of real-time festivities up throughout our outdoor and indoor areas so that people can get to know new people who are also there and see what recent guests have said
These are just the silly ideas of two dreamers who want to use these tools not just to talk, but for services and utility and entertainment – all at the same time.
But I digress… the point of this post is Psychology of Foursquare Mayors and Badge Earners and Those Who Aspire To Be Them. Think about this, when you are creating ideas for marketing games using Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter or Facebook:
- What would a spoiled, pampered Princess expect? (Not WANT… they have expectations)
- What would the world’s hottest Rockstar expect? What would he or she demand?
- If this were the President of a country, what would you offer them for coming to your place or trying your product or service?
- If this were the CEO of a major corporation, would you offer He or She what you are claiming is a cool gift or reward to your Mayors?
You may find these examples extreme, but this is an important question: What can you do, that is an actual sacrifice, to reward your most loyal customer? Send them a gift? Give them a free product or service? Let them pick their own reward? Really GIVE something to these folks… what you will earn in loyalty, word of mouth and influence on others that these people will have, will pay you back many-fold. Foursquare is adding analytics so you can test and track and experiment until you hit the right mix of offers and options.
Are you playing with these new social sites or thinking about it? We’re really excited to explore the possibilities and have started pitching ideas in proposals to certain types of clients. This stuff can make retail, restaurants and even service businesses fresh and fun again!