When my college journalism professor was trying to wrap her mind around Twitter followers, she said, “I am not going anywhere; why are they following me?” While her words then were meant to be a joke, today they simply convey the evolution of social networks.
On Foursquare , the location-based social network, you are going somewhere and you do have followers. Fourquare recently announced, if you reach a certain level of popularity—1000 Foursquare friends—your very first 100 contacts will remain your friends and the rest will become your “followers.” What is the reasoning behind this? “We don’t want your phone vibrating all day,” explained the geo-based social network in an email notification. “We determined that 1000 friends will be the cap for normal accounts.”
So does this have implications for marketers? It sure does!
Focus on the People You Are Following
By distinguishing between friends and followers, Foursquare is pointing out the people with a large reach. If you are a local business, you can easily identify these individuals and try to attract them to you. If you successfully invite them to your location, they have the power to get your brand name out there and share it with the thousands of early-adopters following them.
How to go about it?
Go to your Foursquare profile and scroll down to the two columns titled "Friends" and "Following." You want to focus on the latter. Select to view the entire list of people you have automatically started following as they are popular. You can pick a few individual ones and see exactly how many friends and followers they have. Then, try to engage them by inviting them to your business location. Maybe offer them a special offer or a coupon? It is up to you!
What is even cooler about this type of identification is that these popular figures can replicate the same "check-in" as an update on Twitter and Facebook. And if they have that many followers on Foursquare, you can only imagine what their popularity status is like on other social networks.
So you don’t have to be a celebrity to take advantage of Foursquare's separation between friends and followers. Just think outside the box!