How I Became the Mayor of BSL

It took me three days, but I now don the crown as Mayor of BSL.
In what universe am I a Mayor? In the universe of location based services – more specifically in the universe of Foursquare. What does that title mean exactly? Not much at the moment. But here is a quick rundown of what I’ve learned during my recent rise to power:

What LBS options are available?
I found a
list from Mashable counting down the best of LBS. I decided Foursquare (rated number one) would be my LBS application of choice.

What exactly do you do in Foursquare?

I think this video does a good job of explaining what Foursquare does.

Key Terminology

Similar to a check-in at a hotel, you simply register with Foursquare that you are at a certain location. If you check into a location more than anyone else in a given month, you are crowned the Mayor of that establishment. This status can wield some inviting benefits, such as free coffee at a participating Starbucks.

A Tip is a bit of insider information that you leave behind for the next person, once you exit a location. For example: Order the burger and ask for the secret sauce! As you check into a new location, you can view other people’s tips, potentially influencing your decisions for the better.

To-Do List
You can add Tips and Places to your To-Do List, and can check them off whenever you’re in the neighbourhood.

Your Foursquare friends can see most of your personal profile and location information, while the wider Foursquare community (including Facebook and Twitter) sees more limited information, due to a set of choices you are given in the check-in process. Even among Foursquare friends, you can still choose to check-in off the grid, if you don’t want anyone seeing your location.

Similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Guides – as you achieve specific requirements, you unlock new badges. Some badges are earned by checking into multiple locations in a single day, week or month, while some require checking into a certain type of location, a certain number of times. Badges provide added value and give incentive to explore new places and frequent familiar ones.

Foursquare does a pretty efficient job of tracking all of your check-ins. Each user gets a “Stats” page that breaks down your activity and information in many different ways. Here is a look at my stats page.

My First Impressions of Foursquare
The primary hurdle of Foursquare is the concept of publicizing one’s location – which to some can seem frightening. But you don’t need to submit your location to participate in Foursquare. Security settings offer users pretty good control. You can still collect badges, see local tips and get recommendations from other users. But of course, the experience is enhanced when you do check-in publicly – because you get to run for Mayor.

Foursquare seems to have a lot of potential from both a social and marketing standpoint. You can link to Facebook and Twitter, with the option to publish check-ins to all platforms. You can also keep your check-ins completely private. Stay tuned to the BSL Blog as I continue my adventures in Foursquare, and explore more opportunities for marketers. Look up BSL on Foursquare and check-in the next time you stop by!

Are you using any LBS applications? If so, what are they and what has your experience been like?

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