BADG ES AN D

MAYORS, OH MY!
ByTedJanusz

ou may have heard your friends mention checking in to earn badges or evenbecome mayor of certain locations in your town. Huh?
These are common terms among the users of foursquare (yes, with a lowercase "f"), a social, location-based service application for your
smartphone.
nesses: foursquare

turns social networking into a game

What is foursquare?
Foursquare began when co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai met in 2007 while working in

with its badges and mayorships. This might sound si111, to you; it did to me until I u,as ousted as mayor of my
local coffee shop. Mayors will visit an establisl'rment even more frequently to regain their titles. That's powerftil!

the same office space in New York City for different companies. They began building the first version of foursquare in 2008, launching it in March 2009. "We started foursquare so 50 ofour friends could follow each other around NewYork City," says Crowley. Today, the users of foursquare number 15 million people worldwide. They have logged on, or checked in, to the site more than 1.5 billion times to connect with more than 600,000 businesses on foursquare's Merchant Platform.

"Over the next couple ofyears, the adoption of
smartphones is anticipated to grow more tiran 50 percent, resulting in dramatic increases oflocation-based
services usage," sayAaron Strout and Mike Schneider,

authors ofloc ation-Based Marketing for Durnmies. 'As a result of the ricl-r data, engagement, and lo1,al1r 4rr, location-based serwices facilitate, more and more businesses are adopting these tecl-rnologies."

How foursquare Works
Foursquare users out on the town access the app to see where their friends are or discover neq, places to visit. Foursquare will recommend things to do or places to
eat based on where users have already been or on the advice oftheir friends. Users can check in by tapping the venue or place name where they are on their phones. They can also choose to let friends know where thel. are and what they are doing.

TED JANUSZ is a professional speaker
on the topic of "Social Media for

Baby Boomers," author, and marketing consultant. He is the author of the Socr,a/

Users earn points for checking in, ar-rd they can compete with their friends. They can also earn virtual badges for their 1oyalty. And the person who checks in at a particular location the most in a given period of time is declared the mayor of that location.

"Social location sharing allows customers to not only 1x[" part in a social game, but be rervarded for doing so," salrs Simon Salt, author of Social Location Marketing. "Businesses need to start realizing the benefit of knowing that they have regular customers and believing that it really is easier-or at least less expensive-to keep a customer than to obtain a neu, one. Small businesses . . . realize that the closer the1. make the customer feel, the better the chances are the customer will return. Knowingwhen their customers are at one of their iocations, knowing which of their customers are regulars, and which are first timers are al1 extremely valuable to any smal1 business."

Why ShouldYou Sign Up?
There are three reasons why your parking facility
should participate on foursquare: & Reward your best patrons.
Offer valuable tips, insights, and information to keep existing patrons and attract new ones. 4& Get free access to data and real-time statistics about your patrons that you have never had before. To learn how your parking facility can start to reap the reu.ards ofparticipation on foursquare, go to four-

Media Marketinq
Guide for Parking

Professionals, which is a free publication

Why foursquare Matters
"This combination of friend-finder, city guide, and
game mechanics creates a highl}, addictive platform that encourages Llsers to return again and again," says Carmine Gallo, author of The Power of foursquare. "It sounds simple, and it is. It's also insanell, addictive for man1, people and very powerful." Here is the truly compelling part, especially for busi-

&

for lPl members and
can be downloaded from www.parking. org. He can be reached atterii-q, ja::usprereriiaii*ns.

o
ts
@

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mri 12

or 614.440"7487.

square.com/business.

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INTERNATTONAL pARKING tNSTITUTE

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