Yes, Mayorships really do matter

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by Steve Holt on May 19, 2011

I love introducing people to services like Foursquare. Explaining the badges, mayorships, check-ins, and so forth is pretty fun, and it usually gets lots of laughs and some strange stares from folks who don’t really understand. Invariably someone will say to me, “I don’t get it. What is the big deal about mayorships? That sounds kinda silly to me.” Or they will say, “It doesn’t make sense to me that anyone would want to know where I am.”

Well, some people will never get it, and that’s ok. Despite what may be seen as generally accepted knowledge, everyone doesn’t have a smartphone. And not everyone will enjoy the whole check-in phenomenon. But if you own or run a business, there are some unbelievable reasons why you need to care, and why you need to get busy with this.

I love sharing with others some of the success stories of businesses who have done well with services like Foursquare and Facebook Places, so that they can see that, yes, it is possible to be successful with these sorts of things. When you look beyond the funny badges and the leader board points, there are fundamental reasons why location-based services will become bigger than they are today… much bigger. Foursquare at its very core employs game mechanics. That means that it is fun playing ‘the game’ against your friends and acquaintances. It gets under my skin when another person steals my mayorships and it does make me try a little harder to get them back. And yes, I am proud of my badges because I had to work to get some of them. But the bottom line is that game mechanics basically makes things more fun. Everyone likes fun, right?

Even better than having fun, I love being able to get in on exclusive deals. Taking advantage of specials that others don’t know about. And that, to me, is why businesses small and large need to take this very seriously. Foursquare to me is not just a game. It is the bridge between the digital world and the real world. It is a way to reward loyalty and build stronger relationships with customers. If all Foursquare provided was a game, then after a certain time period it would become boring. Foursquare helps me discover new places (i.e., businesses) that perhaps I didn’t know about and deals that I can take advantage of without having to carry around a pocket full of coupons. Offering specials and incentives for me to walk in the door is what it’s all about.

Yes, Foursquare can help you reward your most loyal customers. It can help you build stronger relationships with customers. And yes, it can bring more foot traffic into your store. Do you want all that? Of course you do. Foursquare can help you do that. Ask Radio Shack, P.Y.T., and A.J. Bombers about that.

Yes, mayorships do matter. And yes, you can do this. Next week I’ll post your Foursquare to-do list to get you started.

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