Is Four Square the Local Social Media ‘word of Mouth’ platform?


How often have we not asked a friend or acquaintance about references for a local business? From Restaurants to Physicians, we have always relied on the local word of mouth for validating our choices. Often I have relied on people to refer and if there is no reference or a negative reference I have not chosen that particular service.

Of late I have this feeling that Four Square is turning out to be the social media equivalent of the word of mouth. This is particularly a good method if you want references on places to visit, shopping and restaurants.foursquare

Let me focus more on the restaurant segment as I am a keen follower of the four square updates from them. Often I have bought food guides like the one brought out by times of India, to select a fine dining experience. Lately I have also started visiting websites for the same purpose. But last week, as I was upgrading the four square application on my blackberry, I received an update that one of my contacts had just ‘checked-in’ this restaurant and was enthralled by the experience. A ‘check-in’ in Four Square terms was that he has visited the facility and spent some time there.

I got curious and sent him a message on four square asking for some clarification and he responded with all the details. Now I did not know this person but he had just provided me with a good ‘word of mouth’ reference for this restaurant. I then proceeded to visit the place and was pleasantly surprised that the restaurant had lived up to the recommendation given by my contact on four square.

As I checked among my peers, Four Square was increasingly replacing the websites as online restaurant guide and the mobile applications were actually making the task simpler.

Set up in 2009 by Dennis Crawley and Naveen Selvadurai, Four Square has almost 30 million users, with more than 50 % outside the US. There are almost 3 Million ‘check-ins’ daily. For more on Four Square and how it operates, please visit the site here.

Also four square has tie ups with other businesses like New York Times, Zagat and American Express to offer deals. Facebook recently launched its check-in application as it felt the impact that Four Square was creating.

Well the future of the social media platforms will be at the cross section of the platforms like Google and mobile applications running on various platforms like Android and ios. At the present Four Square sits on that intersection giving marketers a voice in the location based selling. The insights that are available by using the Four Square application are immense.

The question is Are marketers ready to bite that bullet?

  1. Dr Vikram says

    Hi Arun and Prashant.

    I think Four Square had its time under the sun. Its too early to say if it is fading or not. But most probably it will be acquired by one of the bigger players. But it has created a platform, for word of mouth on the social platform….

    Social Media is a manifectation of what was already present. We have always relied on word of mouth and now we have a similar platform n Four Square.

    Now that Facebook has also Geo Location check-ins maybe Four Square’s days are numbered. But the task of creating the word of mouth medium remains…

  2. Prasant Naidu says

    Foursquare is good for US and it has failed till now out of US. Atleast in India it is the case so. I have used it for close to 6 mths but gave it up for no value addition. gamification is good but can't drive people for long. Infact @mojostreet has been doing good instead by tying up with brands and giving value to your check ins.

    1. Amit Rawat says

      Agree Absolutely

    2. Arun Prabhudesai says

      I second that opinion Prasant – Foursquare is going down…so is much talked about Gowalla. How about Google Plus reviews? what do you think about that?

    3. Rashmi Shah says

      true…I tried it but didn't find it much worth…compared to it…I feel mintm is far better…
      it will get you best offers and rewards you for visiting places.

    4. Vivek Kumar says

      Rashmi Shah I totally agree with you… hv been using mintm for couple of months they are associated with good brands n offers you rewards which are redeemable too.
      check it out :

    5. Prasant Naidu says

      thanks guys will have a look at mintm app :)

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