Location-based social media app Foursquare has definitely added an interesting new dimension to black business. One of the biggest advantages to Foursquare is that it essentially provides free advertising–as long as users are checking in to your location, their Facebook friends and Twitter followers have a chance to hear about your location with the added bonus of third-party endorsement.
Major cities like New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Chicago seem to be at the forefront of this social media shift. Places like the Hue-man Bookstore in Harlem, Taste Boutique in Atlanta, Love Pastry in Brooklyn and Dulce Shoe Boutique in Miami have hundreds of check-ins and tips from Foursquare users. Celebrity business owners like P. Diddy (who owns the restaurant chain Justin’s) and Ludacris (who owns the restaurant STRAITS) nonetheless dominate the overall Foursquare use, offering free appetizers and drink specials to those who check-in. In the past, those who have obtained mayorships have also received substantial discounts on their meals.
Black History Month also proved to be a fertile time for black business on Foursquare, particularly historically black colleges and black-owned museums. Last month, MSNBC’s The Grio created a special Black History month badge on Foursquare. The site gave a list of potential locations to visit across the country by users who were interested in learning more about Black heritage. These sites included places like Spelman, Morehouse, The Black Soldiers Memorial and the African American Museum of Dallas. To get the badge, users had to follow the Grio and check in to atleast two listed locations during February.
Overall, black-owned businesses who actively promote via Foursqaure is still comparatively small. However, it is also important to note that unlike social media site Twitter (who some estimate is nearly 40% black), Foursquare still has quite a way to go in terms of black users. Chain stores and stores owned by celebrities seem to have the most successful use of Foursquare by offering discounts to users who check in. HBCUs have also faired well, with thousands of check-ins to events by college students. As Foursquare continues to expand its minority user base, it is likely that we will see an increase in the number of businesses actively promoting to Foursquare users.Category: Featured, social media | Tags: Dulce Shoe Boutique, foursquare, Hue-man Bookstore, Love Pastry, Ludacris, P. Diddy, Taste Boutique, the grio