Foursquare, the increasingly popular location based social networking site, was recently named one of TIME.com’s 50 worst inventions.
Your reaction to this probably comes close to one of the following:
A). You nod yes in agreement with TIME.com
B). You wonder what Foursquare is
C). You speak up on behalf of its relevance, especially with regards to potential future uses
Over the last year or so, many of the same people in my inner circle who were early adopters with Twitter are now the same ones who are enamored with Foursquare and its potential use.
Back in July 0f 2009, Mashable.com even stated that Foursquare had the potential to be the next Twitter. In other words, Foursquare has the chance to rapidly become part of our mainstream web 2.0 toolkit.
I was curious so I started using Foursquare about 3 months ago to get a sense of its use first hand and see if this tool is something that makes sense with relation to one’s job search and networking.
So what is it?
Foursquare is a location-based social networking application mainly used by people on their smart phones to let their friends know where they are. When they reach particular destinations, GPS technology allows them to ”check-in” to locations through the Foursquare application. Additionally, points and badges are awarded when members check-in to locations and meet certain criteria which is designed to entice people to venture out more or try different locales. Users can “shout” in 140 characters anything they want, which is similar to a Twitter status update while also giving tips and feedback regarding locations, restaurants, or any other type of business.
From my use, this tool feels like a combination of Yelp and Twitter with the added ability to see where my friends were and what they have done. It also allows me to see if others are at the same location that I am at. When I went to areas with large amounts of people, such as Grand Central Station in New York, I could see that over 50 people had checked-in while I was there.
Who is using it?
In addition to the numerous users who share information with their friends, major players like Starbucks, The Wall Street Journal, Wynn Las Vegas, and The City of Chicago tourism are infusing Foursquare into their marketing and branding. For instance, Starbucks rewards “The mayor” (the person with the most check-ins at a certain location in a 2month span) of each of their local franchises with special deals such as $1 off particular drinks.
In addition, Stanford University infused social media tools like Facebook and Foursquare into their 2010 commencement ceremonies. Stanford hopes to not only make the graduation a much more interactive experience, but they hope to help keep their graduates connected to each other and the university.
What does this have to do with my brand?
With large organizations starting to opt into Foursquare, more and more attention is being paid to new and creative uses for location-based social networking. In fact, a simple google search of “recruiters using foursquare” produced 773,000 hits when I was researching for this post.
While many of the ideas on recruiting are more theoretical in nature, some recruiters are looking at possible ways that they can implement Foursquare into their recruitment needs ASAP.
A few ideas that came up in my research indicate that college recruiters specifically are looking for new and creative ways to meet students using location based social services. Some of the potential ideas being brainstormed are:
- Using candidates check-ins to get a better understanding of interests
- Enabling recruiters to broadcast where they are for potential candidates who may be in the same location
- Following candidates to get a better understanding of where they may be interviewing
- Creating scavenger hunt type games to assist with the orientation of new hires
Much like your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and additional accounts, it is important to remember that participation in these tools can bring attention to your brand. It is up to you to craft and maintain a positive and consistent brand over all the platforms that you are active in.
As time goes by, more and more adopters of Foursquare will try innovative means to market and attract top talent to their organizations. In other words, your knowledge of new and emerging tools will allow you to find additional ways to stay connected to recruiters while simultaneously finding ways to stand out from the pack.
What do you think? Would you consider following a recruiter that you are actively engaged with to keep track of their whereabouts? Would you feel comfortable if someone you didn’t know well was following where you check-in ?
I look forward to your comments.
[Note: This post was originally written for Dan Schawbel’s Student Branding Blog.]