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Examples & Scope Of Location Based Social Networks In India

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Foursquare_Gowalla-geo-apps-300x144Social Networking has come of age & more or less it has been adopted by a large section of people all around the world. Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn are the 3 Giants of Social Networking at the moment with all three catering to some particular needs of their users. Apart from these well known Leaders, Location based social networking is another area which is emerging very quickly in this space. Foursquare & Gowalla are the prominent sites in this space. According to a recent ComScore report “Nearly 1 in 5 smartphone owners use check-in services” and its growing. So, i would like to address the scope of these networks in India. What benefit they can provide to the consumers & brands.

1) For Merchants and other Venue owners:

Foursquare offers a free set of tools to help you attract new customers and keep your best ones coming back. Merchants can attract new customers or reward their most loyal ones by offering foursquare mobile coupons, prizes or discounts. Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) is the first brand from India to do a tie up with Foursquare to offer discounts to its regular customers. On your third check-in at CCD (applicable only for Bangalore at the moment), you will get 15% discount. And if you are the Mayor, CCD will serve you a free coffee and a 20% discount on every 3rd check-in. Another benefit for merchants is that ‘Merchant Platform’ allows access to your Venue Stats dashboard, allowing you to track your customer foot traffic over time.

2) For Brands that are not tied to a specific physical location:

For brands like a consumer packaged good, TV channel, university, manufacturer, or an upcoming movie release foursquare provides two main marketing tools – Pages and Custom Badges. This helps your consumers and fans to do interesting things in their neighborhoods and communities. For instance MTV uses Foursquare Page in USA to create stickiness around its brand. The pages contain the business logo, tips that the business as left at Foursquare venues & the option to follow that business on Foursquare. The page also includes links to that businesses profile on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter, thus helping in cross promotion of platforms.

Some Examples: Indian Merchants & Venue owners have already started adopting the Foursquare as can be seen from the example of CCD. ITC Green Centre (Complimentary dessert at the coffee shop on 3rd check-in!) and Cpm Cafe (Free Pizza for the Mayor!) are some other examples using Foursquare to attract customers. There are various other small brands who have started using Foursquare at various places in India.

But as far as the use of Foursquare pages is concerned there are not many takers of it in India yet. Although Jet Airways has been using this feature beautifully as can be seen from their Foursquare Page. The early adopters of this feature will clearly benefit from this exercise.

Indian Brands haven’t shared any official figures yet as to how much benefit they are getting out of it but looking at the global trends and the enthusiasm among these early adopters, i am sure they are getting lot of value in terms of increased foot falls & ultimately sales. So definitely the scope is bright for location based social networks in India. All what is required is positive attitude towards this medium.

Do you know of any more examples of Indian Brands using Foursquare to leverage their Marketing Efforts?

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