Social Media Saturday: Groupon & Foursquare

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Earlier this week, Groupon filed a $750MM IPO. I know you’re like — Laurie, I just got on Twitter. What is Groupon?

Launched in November 2008, Groupon features a daily deal on the best stuff to do, see, eat, and buy in more than 500 markets and 44 countries.

You can get vouchers for spa treatments, boxing lessons, mini golf, and a whole bunch of other shit you don’t need. Actually, that’s not true. I scored discounted movie tickets, a deal on pilates, and a massage that I haven’t used.

Some of Groupon’s competitors are LivingSocial & Google OffersTwongo, but even CBS and Glenn Beck are in the business of emailing you about deals.

The IPO news comes on the heels of a partnership/relationship discussion between Groupon and foursquare. What the hell is foursquare, you ask? Well, it’s lowercase. And here’s how they describe themselves.

See where your friends are, learn about the places they frequent, and unlock rewards as you travel.

Basically, foursquare is a social network where you use a mobile phone to “check in” to different locations. You can link it to your Facebook account to tell your friends where you are and what you’re doing. There are really very few reasons why you would do this — other than vanity. You don’t get many real-world incentives to check into places. I once got a candy bar for checking into a store in Atlanta. I mostly check into places to let my husband know that I haven’t died while traveling.

Competitors to foursquare? Go take a look at sites like Gowalla and Facebook Places.

If foursquare partners with Groupon, it could mean a few things for companies and consumers. Your company could have beter access to consumer data (which is what everything is all about — leads) and have a foursquare page that offers immediate deals to customers. It would be easier to broadcast instant deals to those who are currently checked into your site and reach out to people who have visited you in the past. And while being aware of labor laws, you could encourage your employees to ‘get social’ and check in to locations while they’re traveling to show support for your clients, your vendors, or locations that your organization supports.

So pay attention. Social media & technology & marketing are evolving in a weird way. And while everyone is attached to a mobile device, you need a massage for your carpal tunnel and your kids still want to eat pizza and have a birthday party at one of those crazy jumping emporiums. (Amirite?! Yes. I am.) So Groupon & foursquare & the ilk — in combination with mobile technology — are ways to drive revenue, drive eyeballs, and drive money to your business.

Be curious. Go check those sites out. Learn something. You can be critical and judgmental after you are informed. That’s the rule.

But if you’re in HR, don’t use foursquare to track your employees, yo.

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