Analysis: Foursquare/Facebook Show Gender Divide

The following is an interesting report found on about how men and women are using social media differently. Read the full article, but here’s a taste:

A funny thing happened on the way to evaluating our nonprofit agency’s social media results. We discovered a Mars/Venus connection.

Want to know where the boys are online? They are hanging out on Foursquare and other geo-location sites, outnumbering women by a 2:1 ratio. Meanwhile, on our Facebook page, women outnumber men by the same ratio. Of course, Foursquare isn’t anywhere as popular as Facebook, but there are some interesting takeaways from this analysis…

Foursquare tends to reward you with increased status by cultivating frequency without commitment. It’s a little more macho, like an animal marking his territory. Also, there may be a natural hesitance for women to declare their real-time location for safety concerns of stalking or robbery. At least, that’s what the women we talk to say. Guys don’t worry as much about the personal threat of revealing their whereabouts. And then, there’s the stereotype that men are more competitive. Foursquare promotes competition by awarding badges and increased status to frequent participants.

Just to be sure our findings weren’t unique, I did a little investigating and found some interesting confirming data. The Pew Internet research folk, who constantly monitor online behavior, published a piece in 2010 showing exactly the same 2:1 ratio of men using location-based services like Foursquare. And a writer for The Economist blogged in 2011 about “The Secret Sexism of Social Media” in which she noted: “At this year’s SXSW festival held in March in Austin, I ran into a social-media wonk from New York and asked him how he had been enjoying it. He said it was great: He had won five badges from Foursquare… securing the mayorship of his hotel’s pool. It occurred to me that I have yet to hear a woman brag about getting a badge from Foursquare, and that I never will. In fact, come to think of it, I barely hear women mention such services at all.”

Hat tip to Chamber staffer Ashton Eller for the article.

Is the “Check-in” Dead?

Though I deal with social media daily, I’ve never "checked in" from anywhere, on any social media platform. While I think it can be a valuable tool for some businesses to network and/or offer discounts to their most loyal patrons, I haven’t found much use for it on a personal level.

And frankly, I like where I go to be my personal business … that’s between me, my favorite restaurants and poker parlors sports bars.

PR Daily offers this take on the potential death of the "check-in":

It seems people don’t want their friends and family to know where they are at all times after all.

Just when you thought the “check-in” was the latest, greatest social media trend that would never ever go away, ReadWriteWeb has declared it dead.

Let us take a moment of silence—and another moment to check in that we’ve just taken a moment of silence.

The list of less popular social check-in sites reads like the curriculum at a clown college: Gowalla, Loopt, BriteKite. Then there are the big boys: FourSquare, Facebook Places, Google, and Yelp.

Detractors have questioned why people would want to fill the ether with mundane life activities. Of course, people said the same thing about Twitter and Facebook. And numerous big brands have used the service successfully, including Zagat and Louis Viutton with Foursquare, and Onitsuka Tiger with Foursquare Places. (Here’s a collection of how other brands have used Foursquare.) The website Sprout Social also explained how smaller brands can use location-based services to compete with national ones.

But as the ReadWriteWeb article points out: Foursquare’s “Web traffic has declined for five consecutive months, amounting to a 50 percent reduction in traffic over that period.”

The number of people who have signed up for Foursquare has increased, but only 40 percent of its users are actually checking in. Perhaps the decline came about because none of us should actually want to be the “mayor” of anything.

If I’m the mayor of my local Starbucks, it only reveals that I lack variety in my life and that each day is depressingly the same. I would only hate myself if I had to think every day about the fact that I go to the same places over and over.

Good riddance, Foursquare—wherever you are.

McDonald’s Foursquare Campaign Yields Positive Results (How Positive is Still Being Determined)

If you’re like me, you’re not a big fan of location-based social media. My general view is that unless you’re my child (or dog, in my case), I’m hoping to rob your home or I’m stalking you, I don’t need to know where you are or what you’re doing. However, some businesses have been using Foursquare as a way to engage loyal customers via discount offers and rewards. Case in point, McDonald’s recently gave it a shot and generated as much as 33% more foot traffic:

With so many brands trying their hand at location-based marketing campaigns, one has to wonder: is Foursquare really effective as a platform for bringing in new business? McDonald’s seems to think so; the company’s head of social media Rick Wion recently spoke of the fast food giant’s big wins from a spring pilot program using Foursquare.

At the Mobile Social Communications conference yesterday, Wion shared that McDonald’s was able to increase foot traffic to stores by 33% in one day with a little Foursquare() ingenuity. McDonald’s total cost for the successful campaign was a measly $1,000.

Econsultanty reports that McDonald’s, with Wion driving campaign direction and strategy, opted to try and take advantage of Foursquare Day (4/16) to bring in more business. The company used 100 randomly awarded $5 and $10 giftcards as checkin bait to lure in potential diners. The bait also worked to attract the media’s attention and resulted in more than 50 articles covering McDonald’s Foursquare special.

The campaign worked in both digital and real world capacities. Patrons flocked to McDonald’s restaurants for the chance to win giftcards in exchange for checkins, and 600,000 online denizens opted to follow and fan the brand on social media sites.

“I was able to go to some of our marketing people — some of whom had never heard of Foursquare — and say, ‘Guess what. With this one little effort, we were able to get a 33% increase in foot traffic to the stores’,” Wion explained to conference attendees.

A company of McDonald’s size spends millions on advertising every year, and yet a simple $1,000 Foursquare campaign netted the company measurable success. Of course, the metric here was checkins (not sales), and there were likely several other factors contributing to the campaign’s success, but it’s still a story that many an agency should pay heed to.

McDonald’s is not alone in their Foursquare success. Earlier this year, Domino’s UK attributed social media, and its Foursquare pilot program in particular, as a primary factor in helping the company increase profits by 29%.

But NOT SO FAST, says ReadWriteWeb. The site asserts McDonald’s claims are a bit, shall we say, super-sized.