With the advent of Foursquare, social media has become competitive. Bragging rights of being a mayor is the big prize you win.
Being an active Foursquare user, I have caught the competitive social media bug. My friends and I compete to see who can unlock the most badges, check-in first at each establishment and earn mayoral rights. Since Foursquare users have become so competitive, my friends and I included, we all want to hold the mayorship of our favorite establishments; so it encourages us to drop in more often.
At some establishments it can payoff to become the mayor. Recently, Arby’s kicked off a Foursquare promotion in which mayors of 37 locations from Evansville, Ind., to Huntsville, Ala., gets reserved seats at a “Mayor’s tables” and 50 percent off meals. So not only are customers benefiting from being the mayor of Arby’s, but also the fast food establishment has the chance to run a loyalty program and test new products on valued customers.
Senior Vice President at Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. Bob Kraut believes, “This [Foursquare] represents the intersection of the social media conversation we want to be a part of and the real world target ability that larger retail operations desire.”
Arby’s is not the only establishment giving its social media followers perks. The MarketFair Mall in Princeton, N.J., has designated one prime parking spot as Foursquare Mayor Parking and on the first Wednesday of the month. Mayor of the W Montreal hotel gets valet parking, a spa treatment or a night’s stay at no charge. In addition to mayoral prizes, companies can also sponsor badges. For example, those who follow Mazda and check-in at participating nightlife venues can earn the Mazda badge and enter to win a new car. Mazda chose nightlife venues to promote the Mazda badge in order to reach its tech savvy target audience.
Although marketers are questioning the function of Foursquare, it seems with the competitive nature of humans, there is ample opportunity if marketers choose to seize it.
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