Turning the tables on GPS social media


It’s Friday again on Mount Street, meaning the weekend is just around the corner. Over the next few days music will be danced to, drinks drunk, shops bought out and meals indulged in. So like anyone working in public relations, with a penchant for digital PR, we’re going to be monitoring the usual channels to see what places people are checking out, as and when they check in.
We preach the gospel of location-based social networks on a regular basis as devout believers in the mobile media future. And now the goal posts have shifted again, with more power being placed in the hands of consumers. In short, Foursquare Explore arrived a little while ago, followed more recently by the developer’s API for third parties.
What? Well, basically, the popular network that offers rewards to users for spreading information on the best bars, restaurants and more, added a couple of extras. Firstly, a new Leaderboard looks to increase competition between users by showing the comparative points accrued by you and your friends over the last seven days, in turn opening the door to some interesting promo potential, not to mention friendly rivalries.
All very interesting, but the real talking point is the new Explore option. Click on it and you will receive suggestions of places to visit next, based on your current location and what your plans are. As such if you’ve been trying on clothes, and feel a little peckish, Foursquare can now provide a list of nearby cafes, delis, and fine eateries, based on reviews by people in your network. Furthermore, the more they visit an establishment, the higher up in the list of proposals it will feature when all eyes look to the handset for advice.

Brand loyalty, smartphone-related offers, and business affiliations are just a couple of the ideas that sprang to mind when this news hit. And no doubt in the time since the changes went live plenty of others have had the same thoughts, as this concept is almost guaranteed to take off in a huge way, not least now that Foursquare has allowed outside developers to use the functionality in their own web-based programmes (via the aforementioned API).
The number of users opting to Explore should explode then, suggesting customer care and online innovation will be even more vital when it comes to new marketing practices (as if the two weren’t already significant enough). Because there are countless campaigns that could be created to harness the potential in this rather huge development, but any efforts will be null and void if people in the physical world aren’t satisfied, and don’t come back again for more.