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The Influence of Foursquare

comments     Posted May 13, 2011 by Nathan King with 611 reads

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Foursquare is a location-based social network that motivates its users to get out and explore a city using three basic concepts – loyalty, encouragement and discovery. In January of 2011, Foursquare stated on its blog that the company grew 3,400%. That’s not up to Facebook’s numbers, but the platform has made a place for itself in the social media world and has a dedicated base of users around the globe – Foursquare is reportedly nearing 7 million users. Now that it has been around for a while, we were curious to discover what influences users to participate.

Foursquare is best known for its badges, which users get when they check-in to certain places. Users can also gain the title of “Mayor” when they’ve been to a place more than anyone else using Foursquare. Other elements that play into Foursquare’s game dynamics include special offers and tips.

We set out to discover which elements are most influential to Foursquare users. Here are our results:

Foursquare Infographic

As a Foursquare user myself, I find that one of these elements alone is not what makes it so interesting. It’s when all these elements work together that I find the most value in using Foursquare. There are certain restaurants and locations where I would like to remain Mayor, and other places I’d go to just to get a badge. As new features are added or improved upon, the dynamics of Foursquare will continue to change.

What elements of Foursquare influence you the most?

This post first appeared on Austin & Williams Unplugged, a blog about advertising and marketing.

About Nathan King

A leader in social media marketing, Nathan stays on top of this always changing, increasingly-popular – and powerful – digital media vehicle. From helping companies understand where their greatest marketing opportunities lie among the myriad of social networking sites, blogs, microblogs and photo/video sharing communities to creating strategies for monitoring who’s saying what where – and, more importantly, what to do about it – our clients count on Nathan’s expertise to help bolster their online presence, while safeguarding their reputation.


 Just as you wouldn’t leave on a trip without a roadmap, a company should not steer the ship into the unknown digital waters without a marketing plan or strategy. But, interestingly enough, many companies do not have marketing or communications plans implemented within their organization.

With the advent of social media, search engine marketing and interactive marketing, there are so many marketing choices out there – it’s easy to get caught up in the outbound efforts. Yet, few companies understand the importance of a well-defined social media communications plan or a marketing project management plan.

Just as important  as theplan is having a well-developed marketing team. The skill set of a marketing professional today are rapidly changing. For example, in the social media realm, there are hundreds of tools such as Social Oomph, Social Mention and Tweetdeck. Marketing is now entangled in a medium that is defined by technology— it’s not just helpful, but almost a given, that a marketing professional needs to have at least a basic understanding of programming and digital technology. Developing a website requires more knowledge than designing a print brochure. Many Marketers without knowledge of digital applications have been left out in the cold, while their proactive counterparts were soaking up web application classes and learning what API was.  They must also be not only creative thinkers and understand mashable skills but have a certain level of business acumen.

Marketing has become more analytically driven than in years past. Webmaster tools give us a view of traffic driven to sites and inbound links. Marketing is at the center of data frenzy, with a constant swiftness of information — twitter feeds, web analytics, transaction histories, behavioral profiles, industry aggregates, social community feedback and dashboard metrics. Having a good understanding of data is a required skill, as is proficiency with tools such as Hootsuite and Google Analytics.

Because marketing speed is accelerating, yet another desired skillset is project management. The lavish days of planning a few well-contained major campaigns for the year are largely gone. Now, you’ve got hundreds of micro-opportunities, swirling around the extensive enterprise every week, the best of which must be quickly snatched and efficiently executed. Large advertising agencies who once enjoyed several large clients requiring enormous management teams, have been replaced by a nucleus of small business clientele. Priorities for these many clients can change overnight, and near instantaneous social media feedback demands a near instantaneous response. Old school project planning can’t keep up in that environment. You need Agile methodologies (originally invented for rapid software development) that are now being successfully adapted for use in the marketing department, such as a Scrum approach to marketing. (And, of course, it’s especially relevant when marketing needs to engage in its own software development projects.) Running an agile project well, however, is a skill in its own right — especially in an organization whose embedded culture may be, shall we say, less than agile. If you can master the art an “agile facilitator”, you can guide many initiatives to nonlinear management success.

Systems approach to marketing is also a must these days. Marketing is no longer being managed in silos. Tactics in one area (for example, a particular trade show presentation) can impact the effectiveness of other campaigns (such your search marketing ads) almost immediately. Social media has not only accelerated cross-channel effects, it’s blended and mashed-up channels and partners with independent communities into a completely new, living ecosystem. If engaged properly, that can be a powerful force multiplier; if mismanaged, it can be a train wreck.

According to a recent article by Scott Brinker, CMO,  he states that navigating the web and understanding mashable software fluency is also an important ‘must have’ skill in the marketing repertoire. “Not all marketers have to become programmers, but those who understand how software is built and deployed in the new “mashable web” — a world of mashups, widgets, and APIs — will have a competitive advantage. Digital marketing is no longer just about great content, a cool design, and good search engine optimization. The new battleground is the web as an open, malleable, interconnected application Lego set, where your clients and partners can leverage functional components and data from site in conjunction with feeds and APIs from Google,, and their own value-add streams into a whole new kind of software. Take a look at the thousand-plus APIs available on ProgrammableWeb from not just Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, eBay, etc., but also The New York Times,, the BBC, Zillow, FedEx, and hundreds of other companies that are locking in digital relationships through useful services and data.”

It all begins with a powerful marketing plan that is designed to move your company forward with a measurable return. Then it continues with a scalable project management team with the knowledge and  patience for absorbing technology as quickly as they can learn.  Your marketing professional doesn’t need to be a fluent programmer, but she does need to have a basic understanding.

 Google has now made its closely-guarded Google Places API available to all developers, after nearly a year in closed beta. The API, first announced a year ago, returns business listings based on location. The search giant also added features that make the service useful for many types of local applications, in addition to simplifying the authentication process. With additional agreements, Google also allows for a healthy 100,000 queries, versus only 1,000 standard calls.

from WrightDirection Doodle 4 Google Contest

Please vote for Clayton! My neighbor’s son, 11 year old Clayton Phillips, is a finalist for Doodle 4 Google Contest! The final winner is determined by online voting, which will be open through May 13 at Clayton’s drawing is in the fourth- through sixth-grade age group.

from WrightDirection Change in Marketing Coming~

How do you know if your marketing activities have delivered on business results in the form of revenue, customer retention or higher brand equity?

Now what if your results show that a high % of your marketing activity produced no measurable impact on those business results-would you change how you’re doing things?

With the rise of social networking among business environments today and the increase in importance of these and other inbound marketing interactions on buying behavior, we are fast approaching the day when outbound marketing can no longer be a majority of the marketing mix…

Some real-time Marketing facts: “Mind-Blowing Statistics Every Marketer Should Know” (from Hubspot)

  1. 78% of Internet users conduct online product research.
  2. Web-based email usage has dropped 59% among 12-17 year olds in the past year.
  3. 200 Million Americans are registered on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list.
  4. 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted-in to.
  5. 84% of 25-34 year-olds have left a favorite website because of ads.
  6. 57% of businesses have acquired a customer through their blog.
  7. 41% of B2B companies and 67% of B2C companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.
  8. Companies that blog get 55% more web traffic.
  9. Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing.

Change isn’t coming to B2B Marketing. It’s already here.

Crowd outside WH has grown to several hundred. They’re chanting “USA. USA.”

from WrightDirection Marketing Metrics: The Definitive Guide to Measuring Marketing Performance (2nd Edition)

Is it time to change the culture of your company?