The Favorites Game: Foursquare at the Forefront

By: Kristin Clarke

Author Carmine Gallo on his favorite badge, check-in spots, and more.

Making everyday life more fun—that's what the cofounders of the popular mobile application Foursquare had in mind when they created it. Now 10 million people and 250,000-plus businesses are playing along, including your members, according to Carmine Gallo, author of The Power of Foursquare and the closing speaker at ASAE's Great Ideas Conference, March 25-27, 2012.

The geolocation app allows users to find friends, leave insider tips, and "check in" at businesses, events, and other locations to earn virtual badges, discounts and freebies, and coveted titles ("mayors," for example, are top customers).

For associations, Foursquare offers opportunities to engage members, build brand awareness, raise money, and connect people. Early adopters include Earthjustice, which raised $50,000 by using campaign billboards as check-in spots for donor matching, and the American Red Cross, which boosted blood donations by offering a virtual badge to Foursquare users who give.

A few of Gallo's Foursquare favorites:

Favorite tip for Foursquare newbie businesses: Sign up for Foursquare, claim your venue, and start offering specials that are bold, creative, and playful.

Favorite spot discovered through Foursquare: Eataly in New York City. I discovered it on a random walk because it was offering a Foursquare special: free prosecco just for checking in.

Favorite Foursquare badge: Since I've written a couple of books on Steve Jobs, I enjoyed getting a Steve Jobs badge by checking into three Apple Stores.

Favorite "mayor-dom:" My local coffee shop. They know my name and my favorite drink.

Favorite Foursquare term: "Crunked." You get the crunked badge when you go out to four places in one night!

Favorite check-in spot: Airports. I love to see how many others are there, and I can explore dining options nearby.

Favorite Santa request this year: iPhone 4S.

Contributed by Kristin Clarke, a business journalist and writer and researcher for ASAE. Email: [email protected]

For an extended interview with Carmine Gallo, see "The Game of Life: Engaging Members Through Foursquare."

Kristin Clarke

Kristin Clarke is books editor for Associations Now and a business journalist and sustainability director for ASAE.