Foursquare and Twitter have their own sets of rules. But what makes a game a game? Having a winner and a loser – or at the very least keeping score. Klout is an online service that does just that. It grades you based on your Social Media influence. It calculates how many people will view any given update you post on Facebook or Twitter. Then it gauges how many of those viewers will actually do something because of your post –such as click, “Like”, or retweet. With those variables, they assign you a score from 1-100. The higher your score, the better you are at the Social Media game and the more people want to associate with you online. Your Klout ranking quickly assesses whether you are in fact a winner or a loser.
Whether the rules are obvious, like with Foursquare, or a matter of trial and error, like Twitter, there certainly are rewards for playing the game correctly. For any brand, high Klout scores and plenty of followers may lead to the holy grail of Twitter rewards… a little blue check next to your name! That little mark means you have so many engaged fans and therefore SO much online influence, that Twitter needed to obtain documentation to prove you are who you say you are online. That little blue check means you are so significant that you made it onto Twitter’s radar – and anyone who knows anything about Twitter, knows you’re kind of a big deal.
The Foursquare equivalent would be the coveted “SuperUser” badge. It’s a strange reward. You essentially become an unpaid intern. You edit inaccuracies and grammatical errors or merge duplicate venue listings on their website. For a dedicated user, though, this title means you are a hardcore Foursquare user. Similarly, if you rack up the highest number of visits to a specific business, you earn the Mayor designation (way cooler than a badge). This honor is a little more up my alley because it can come with perks. There can only be one mayor for any given location, making the rewards more exclusive and the title more competitive. Discounts and special offers are commonly offered to Mayors nationwide. Checkers offer Mayors a free milkshake with every visit. Site For Sore Eyes awards a year’s worth of free contact lenses. An LA real estate agency even dolls out $1000 reward if you find them a buyer for one of their listings. As Foursquare and Groupon consider joining forces, discounts and coupons for specific badges and Mayorships will become even more widespread and more competitive.
Users Check In to Foursquare at all hours of the day and night. When it comes to the Social Media game, there is no Time Out. It is constant. It doesn’t stop on weekends or holidays. It doesn’t go to sleep. It also lacks forgiveness, as we learned from our TSV tweet fiasco. At times, the race to become a winner can feel downright exhausting. If you’re like me, that’s when you turn to Facebook. Facebook is my safe haven from the Social Media game. I don’t accept strangers as my friends. It’s filled with people, who like in real life, cut me some slack when I get busy and don’t drop me as a friend because I didn’t have time to post something that day.
When the ceaseless game starts feeling like an obligation, do the prizes keep us coming back? Is a $1 discount off your favorite coffee worth the hassle of Checking In every time you swing by Starbucks? Is constant vigilance over your tweets and your followers worth that little blue check mark?
Everyone plays the Social Media game for different reasons. Businesses love Foursquare because it encourages visitors to return over and over and over again. Foursquare patrons are rewarded with discounts, special offers, or just the amusement of crossing badges off their list. A high Klout number or Verified Twitter status is a status symbol for any brand. It signifies influence. It puts you on the map as a leader in your industry.
Losing 20 Twitter followers in a day was an immediate warning that as a business, we couldn’t afford NOT to play the game. It’s not always straightforward, and it’s rarely something you can be good at if you only practice intermittently – But the winners go home with some great prizes.
Don’t miss out on It’s Just a Game – Part 1
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