In a bid to fend off the ever increasing threat of Facebook Places, Foursquare finally got round to developing a much improved corporate offering yesterday. Since the Foursquare boom of Summer 2010 there have been countless articles and blogs predicting the failure of Foursquare, but criticism over its business offering has been hotting up recently. In the UK especially, businesses have been extremely cautious and wary about the networks opportunities.
Social networks failing to expand and monetise their popularity has been nothing new (it took Facebook years to master it) as they are rightly protective of the product that made them so popular in the first place. In the constantly changing environment of social media, businesses need to evolve at a rapid rate just to ensure they keep the pace with new start ups. This could be where Foursquare have recently started to struggle:
Whilst unique visitors to the website may not provide the best variable by which to measure success it does offer an insight into the general use of the social network. Simply put, and this is more applicable to the UK, Foursquare have been failing to keep users engaged. Personally, I was an avid Foursquare user for months until I had collected all the badges I could collect (strictly no driveby check ins) and befriended as many people as I know. After this I got bored and moved on. There are limits to the number of times a person can be bothered to check in simply to retain the mayorship of a location when there is often nothing being offered in return (apart from the chance to possibly gloat).
Since the rapid growth of Foursquare outside of the US last year they have been extremely slow in developing their business offering and highlighting the networks potential for local businesses. Despite any outrageous statements otherwise Facebook has been and will always continue to be the main player at the table of social networks. It is simply up to the others to grab a slither of the pie and pull consumers in without disengaging them. Unfortunately for Foursquare, whilst it was able to attract users attentions with a new game (badges & mayorships), it has not been able to develop and evolve quickly enough.
Expanding its business section of the site is the 1st step in the right direction to attract new users and boost its offering to businesses and big brands. Venue owners are offered much more detailed information on creating special offers, claiming locations and are also now given recommendations on how to track special offer performance. Brands meanwhile are now informed in detail as to how to create a Foursquare page and claim a 'Partner' badge.
The Foursquare for Business area is a much more comprehensive, transparent and informative offering for organisations that should go some way to increasing Foursquare participation by both local and national businesses. In contrast to Facebook, Foursquares ability to monetise the service and attract new business will only improve the product from a consumer point of view.
It will certainly be interesting to see if and how the new changes impact Foursquare from both sides of the coin. Personally, I will have my fingers crossed that Foursquare are able to successfully attract the new business that the network certainly needs in the UK. There are only so many Domino’s a guy can eat!
What do you think? Will these changes have a positive impact on the service? Will you be looking at the potential of Foursquare in your 2011 social media strategy?
If you're a business owner and would like to know more about the potential of Foursquare as part of your social media campaign then give us a call or contact us today.