Foursquare now has more than 3 million users, if the site's public user registration numbers are correct. The 3 millionth member appears to be Brian S. from St. Louis, Missouri, who has yet to check in to any venues via the mobile-based social network.
Foursquare's growth has been accelerating rapidly lately. The service hit 2.6 million users on August 2, up from 725,000 in March. The launch of Facebook Places, which many thought would bring about the startup's demise, instead resulted in the biggest day of signups ever, CEO Dennis Crowley recently revealed.
Given that Foursquare appears to have a little more than 3.02 million users now, we can determine that it is growing by more than 15,500 users per day (a little less than the 18,000 per day Crowley told the LA Times last week), or nearly half a million users per month.
Although already rapid, that rate may very well pick up now that Foursquare has taken over Times Square. Update: The team at Foursquare has informed us that they have not, in fact, reached 3 million users yet, but expect to hit that number either today or tomorrow.
First-up, what is the main difference between Foursquare and Facebook places? It is our opinion that Facebook places is just another banal platform feature to play to the narcissistic profile of Facebook users - look at me, look at me - feeding their addition to provide a seemingly endless real-time commentary on their every move. Foursquare is cuter than this - it actually delivers utility to the vendor and the user by promoting loyalty, competition using gamification, consumer reviews for venues and an offers mechanic designed to reward loyalty or simply alert users to other venues in a given vicinity.
The question Ouvrir customers have been asking is, "should we be investing any time in yet another social media platform. We think the answer is pretty simple. You should invest where your customers, or potential customers, hang out. If you are a firm of lawyers - the chances are that your customers are unlikely to care about checking in to your premises, are unlikely to review your services in this way and will not want to boast about being Mayor of your office. For coffee shops, restaurants, clothing outlets - in fact anything high traffic and/or retail should be investing some time in the platform.
The above notwithstanding - it is possible for ANY business to leverage platforms like Foursquare to increase visibility and build social capital. How do they do this? Assuming you have a social media policy in place, on that provides the guard rails for your employees to engage in social media safely and responsibly, and that you have people in your team who are social media users - you can start to create presence very easily. This way, as Foursquare inevitably starts to release more functionality aimed at business users, you're already ahead of the game.
If you would like to talk about a social media policy for your business, or a broader social media strategy contact Ouvrir today.