Category Archives: Social Media

The Twitterati

Twitterati: The Tweet elite, whose feeds attract thousands of followers and whose 140-character spews capture the attention of the rapt who doggedly monitor them.                 -As defined by Urban Dictionary

Twitter, a mircroblogging site launched in 2006, is a triple-threat source for news, gossip and social networking. (That sums it up in 140.)

Recent reports estimate that 90 percent of tweets are generated by less than 25 percent of Twitter users. Let’s call them the Twitterati. The USA Today broke them down into four categories: media, celebrities, organizations and bloggers.

Twitter is trying to change that and increase its Twitter appeal among a wider user base. Last week, Twitter announced it will be making its homepage more user friendly. More accessible for those who haven’t yet made the Twitter jump; for those who are on Twitter but don’t often tweet; for those who don’t quite understand Twitter. (And those who have no connections to the Twitterati.)

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who returned to the company in late March, is in favor of a more mainstream website. Dorsey served as Twitter’s first chief executive, then took a step back in 2008 and handed the CEO duties to co-founder Evan Williams; the two essentially switched roles. Dorsey is now back in the fold as executive chairman.

Jack Dorseys Twitter account, announcing his return on March 28, 2011

Per Reuters, Dorsey wants to focus on users “that don’t really understand what Twitter is and see Twitter mainly as a consumption experience.”

“We have a lot of mainstream awareness but mainstream relevancy is still a challenge,” Dorsey was quoted on, from an event in New York hosted by the Columbia Journalism school.

I noticed the home-page change Thursday, April 14. Here’s a screenshot I grabbed. The tag has been changed to “Follow your interests,” more in-line with way most people use Twitter. Subtitle: “Instant updates from your friends, industry experts, favorite celebrities, and what’s happening around the world.”

The new home page hasn’t rolled out to everyone just yet. In fact, I visited the site two days later and saw the old page. Which offers only “Twitter. The best way to discover what’s new in your world.”

The change might seem subtle, but for someone new to the site and the service, the re-design definitely accomplishes what Dorsey wants. And it could be the difference in Twitter gaining mass appeal.

Dorsey started Twitter in 2006 with co-founders Evan Williams and Biz Stone. In addition to his return role at Twitter, Dorsey serves as chief executive at mobile-payment startup Square.

Rumors were also floating around the web that Twitter is planning to redesign its Brand Pages, which as of right now are no different than user pages. The said move will make Twitter Brand Pages more like Facebook Pages.

Twitter’s microblogging service has exploded among celebrities, reporters and sports stars; and has filled a niche that Facebook doesn’t. All within 140 characters. Pro athletes are announcing moves on Twitter before the reporters have the story. Celebrity tweets are quoted daily in the news.

I’m new to the Twitter scene. One of the aforementioned ‘on Twitter but don’t often tweet’ users. But now, I’ve decided, I’m in. I made the plunge a few short weeks ago. Actually, the specific moment was after I attended a lecture by John Andrews, Founder and CEO of Collective Bias.

“Collective Bias is an emerging media firm focused on the intersection of mobile/social media and social shopper marketing. Through our proprietary Social Fabric shopping influencer group, we build dedicated communities for our clients designed to foster the shared conversation between consumers, brands and retailers, creating an advocacy platform that fosters organic dialogue and strong brand relationships and ultimately enhanced loyalty and sales.” – From Collective Bias handout at Penn State University in March, 2011. Collective Bias is based in Southfield, MI; Bentonville, AR; Scottsdale, AZ; NYC.

Andrews recently visited Twitter headquarters to get a first-hand look. See his visit on Whrrl.

“I must admit that my opinion on Twitter has changed greatly since visiting,” Andrews told me via email after returning from his trip.

“Twitter is doing some great thinking on products.  Their point of difference is focusing on the interest graph vs the social graph.  I think this is a very powerful marketing tool when you think about the connection of people sharing their interests actively (like a google search with friends and family connected).”

In the NFL, Denver Broncos Executive VP of Football Operations John Elway announced the team’s new head coach on Twitter before anywhere else. John Fox was announced as coach @johnelway on Jan. 13, 2011. It was retweeted by @Denver_Broncos soon thereafter.

Twitter has successfully evolved into a full-fledged news outlet, from the sources themselves. That’s powerful stuff.

“I believe that small media wins ultimately and search levels the playing field,” Andrews said. “Media is decentralizing away from brand control to consumer control.  Content still wins, there is just no longer barriers to who produces that content.  Search, to which I include Twitter, allows the consumer to decide what content is important vs. the channel owner.”

Twitter’s microblogging service has exploded among celebrities, reporters and sports stars; and has filled a niche that Facebook doesn’t. All within 140 characters. Pro athletes are announcing moves on Twitter before the reporters have the story. Celebrity tweets are quoted daily in the news. Twitter is on the map. And I think it’s here to stay.

If it’s accomplished this in only four years, where is it headed? What’s next for Twitter? And will it mean the fall of the Twitterati?

Source: Twitter, Urban Dictionary, CNet, Mashable, USA Today, NYTimes, Reuters, Adweek, Fast Company, Ad Age, Collective Bias, Reuters, John Andrews, Twitter screenshot from, @jack screenshot from Mashable

Hello, hulu

If Netflix is the poster child for streaming video — with a following of 20 million and counting — then Hulu is the forgotten variety.

In only its third year, Hulu is becoming quite the player and is holding ground in its mission to keep Netflix from taking over the (internet video) world.

In fact, its business model might even be more stable: ad-supported streaming of videos and TV shows. It’s a model that’s worked for media companies since, well, the dawn of media. From newspaper and magazine, to radio, to TV and now online.

Hulu’s CEO Jason Kilar projects revenue will double in 2011 to more than $500 million for all things Hulu: and Hulu Plus. Up from $240 million in 2010 and $108 million in 2009. Netflix clocked in at $2.16 billion in revenue in 2010 according to Netflix Q4 2010 financial statements. Up from $1.67 billion in revenue in 2009. And Netflix opts for ad-free content, for now at least. They’ve flip-flopped before.

Hulu is on pace to hit 1 million subscribers in 2011 according to CEO Jason Kilar. A quick calculation will show you how big of a role advertising revenue plays in Hulu’s structure. And how important it will be in its future. In addition, according to Brian Stelter of The New York Times, content providers receive some 50 to 70 percent of advertising revenue. In a similar fashion to pay TV; though from what I understand Hulu offers a higher percentage to its content providers.

As for Netflix, the company has yet to incorporate advertising on any level. Correction: Netflix has advertising on the inside flap of its DVD-by-mail sleeve.

NBC Universal to Comcast

In late January of this year, the nation’s largest cable TV company, Comcast, purchased NBC Universal from GE, which included stake in Hulu.

Hulu is now jointly owned by Comcast ‘s NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and global private equity investment first Providence Equity Partners. In the sale of NBC Universal to Comcast, GE had to relinquish its decision-making power and 32% stake of Hulu.

The NBC Universal-to-Comcast deal gave Comcast 51% control of NBC Universal, now labeled NBCUniversal (no space and no peacock). Previously, GE owned 80 percent. Prior to the sale, GE purchased the remaining 20 percent stake from Vivendi Universal. GE’s stake in NBCUniversal is now 49 percent, though according to USA Today the company plans to completely remove its shares over the next eight years.

The Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission included provisions in the deal that prevent Comcast from blocking NBC programming to other providers. As part of the deal, Comcast agreed to let NBC programming air on its rivals networks including Netflix.

Now that we got that legal jargon out of the way, let’s take a look at the content.

Hello, hulu. An overview of its services

Hulu is free for all, online at

Free on with advertising in each episode. The Hulu Plus option offers an expanded library and brings it directly to your TV via a high-speed Internet connection.

Hulu, free for all on, has more than 200 content providers including NBC, ABC, FOX, PBS, USA Network, Bravo, Fuel TV, FX, NFL Network, Speed, the Big Ten Network, Syfy, Style, Sundance, E!, G4, Versus, A&E, Oxygen and other online networks.

What you’ll find:

TV programming, some of which the day after it airs on pay TV. Previous seasons/episodes, webisodes and current programming  including ABC News, ABC 20/20, Good Morning America, 30 Rock, American Dad, The Biggest Loser, Big Ten Icons, Big Ten Greatest Games, Bones, Bob’s Burgers, The Celebrity Apprentice, Celebrity Rehab, Chuck, Colbert Report, Community, The Daily Show, Family Guy,, Fox News, Glee, Greek, House, How to Look Good Naked, Imus in the Morning, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Jersey Shore, Kitchen Nightmares, Law & Order, Lie to Me, Lost, Master Chef, NFL Films Presents, Nightline from ABC, NOVA, Parks and Recreation, Project Runway, Rescue Me, Saturday Night Live, Super Nanny, Top Chef, Tosh.0, Wired Science…and a ton more.

Those are just a few that caught my eye. The list was far too big to count. Why not take a look for yourself: browse TV.

Again, current seasons, some of which are available the day after they air on TV.

And this is the free version, which is only available on your computer. But if you want to go through the trouble, you could hook up your PC to your TV using an HDMI cable (OK?). Or if you’ve got an older set, Googlecomputer to tv cable” and you’ll see other options like s-video cables or VGA. HDMI offers the highest quality and is the easiest to use if your computer and TV have the capability.

Some episodes on are only available for a short period of time. And the free content doesn’t offer as much of the previous-season library of Netflix. But Hulu Plus comes a little closer, offering TV content sometimes from the first episode of season one to the most-recently aired episode in the current season.

hulu plus

Hulu Plus is available for $7.99 per month

Hulu Plus – for $7.99 per month – brings a lot to the table. Though Hulu Plus can stand on its own, it makes a perfect companion to Netflix and its breadth of on-demand content.

The same great content from, but a lot more including previous seasons and episodes as well as movies. Hulu Plus also connects it all to your TV, making it available with the click of a button (Once you’ve got everything set up, which is easy enough. All you’ll need is a Hulu-compatible device like a Blu-ray player, video-game system or other box. And a subscription to Hulu Plus for $7.99 per month. For a guide of compatible devices, click here. It’s a pdf.).

According to Hulu, its Plus offering provides access to more than 16,000 episodes from more than 400 current and classic shows. As well as the recent exclusive content from the Criterion Collection.

The biggest advantage of Hulu Plus over its competition (Netflix included) continues to be current episodes a day after they air. Current Content. A position Netflix had seemingly surrendered to Hulu until last week, when it announced that it’s buying the rights to “House of Cards,” a series starring Kevin Spacey. The show premieres late next year and will be available exclusively on Netflix for at least two seasons. This is big news for Netflix and Internet TV as a whole. It also goes against the company’s public stance only two months ago. Here’s a clip from a message to its shareholders on Jan. 26, 2011.

“Our primary strategy is to offer complete previous seasons of shows rather than offering those shows the day of, or a few days after, broadcast, during the critical ratings and revenue window. This is in the best interest of content owners and is consistent with our desire to offer a very low-cost service for consumers.” -Netflix in a message to shareholders Jan. 26, 2011.

More on Netflix and “House of Cards” in a future post.

Here’s the direct link to Hulu Plus content from

And here’s a fancy walk-through from

hulu mobile

“The world is becoming increasingly mobile. And the brands and companies that move with that shift will prosper. While those that don’t will have to play catch-up.” Feb. 13, 2011

Hulu Plus on iPhone

Hulu plus is also available on mobile devices including iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Hulu says “many more devices coming soon.” Android smartphones and are next according to the website.

In only its third year, Hulu is becoming quite the player and is holding ground in its mission to keep Netflix from taking over the (internet video) world.

Though it has a long way to go to catch up to Netflix, for the future of streaming video — and all the cable cutters out there — the competition Hulu offers Big Red will benefit the industry, not hold it back.

Images courtesy of,,,

Source: USA Today,,, Reuters, New York Times,

Free ways to connect with customers and promote your local business

Nothing replaces positive word of mouth and a great ad campaign, but there are exciting (and free) ways you can connect with your customers and grow your business.

In many ways, marketing works like a machine, with all of the parts, large and small, working together in unison. Advertising, Customer Service, Social Media all play a part. Do not downplay any one of them.

In this post, I’ll take a look at four free ways you can connect with customers and help promote your business and events. All you need is a little time and some web savvy.

Facebook Pages

Facebook is a great way to connect directly with your customers on a daily basis. As long as you do it right. It’s all about content and frequency.

To do a Facebook Page right, you’ve got to update every day. Don’t have the time?  Then hire someone to do it for you. Don’t have the cash to pay them? Trade them. That’s right, offer your products/services for free if they update your Facebook page throughout the week. Find someone you trust to represent your business (then make sure he/she can spell) and tell your new Facebook front-man what you’re looking to do.

By the way, there is a difference between a Facebook Profile (like you and your friends have) and a Facebook Page (for a business, like a fan page). There’s also a Facebook Group, but groups are meant more for closed conversation like clubs or organizations. So you want to go with a Facebook Page.

Now, the content. What do you post? Make it somewhat relevant to your industry.

Facebook Fun. Want to do something exciting on your page to draw interest? Hold a giveaway. The goal is participation. Try to upload content that your customers will like (and “like”), comment on and hopefully share.

You can also hold fun giveaways or contests on your page.

Where do you get ideas, you ask? Look at what larger companies are doing and, well, copy them. Ikea photographed a living room set and announced that the first person to tag a piece of furniture got it. Tag the couch and it’s yours. Lamp, go ahead, tag it and it’s yours. You can do this too. On a smaller scale, unless you want to give away a living room. There are tons of ideas out there right now, happening every day. You’ve just got to keep your eyes open, then find a way to make it work for your business.

More of this under “Freebies” below.

Need help creating a Facebook Page for your business? Here’s a helpful step-by-step piece from How to Create a Facebook Page for your business.

QR (Quick-Response) Codes

QR codes are awesome. But it’s not exactly new technology. QR codes (a type of 2D codes) have been around since the ’90s. And use of the codes is on the rise. In fact, 2D code usage quadrupled last year. The rise in smartphones is likely the cause. So use them. Find a QR-Code generator online (free) and create some content.  QR Codes can be scanned by any smartphone equipped with a QR-Code reader (also free) just like the scanner at the grocery store scans the bar-code on your Cheerios. Codes can link directly to a URL (a website, landing page, Facebook page or to a video on YouTube) or Text, a message of your choice. But don’t just put a link to your website on there. The least you can do is link it to your Facebook page. Give people a reason to scan it. And make it worth it.

Where to put it?

On your website; on your Facebook Page; on your store signage; on your packaging; on your business cards; on employee shirts; in the restroom? Why not. Anywhere. Be creative.

Need help finding a QR-Code Generator? Google is a wonderful thing. Just Google Free QR Code Generator. I picked Quickqr. To generate a Quickqr code, after visiting the site, simply enter a URL or Text in the “Enter URL or Text” box (simple, no?).  Then, hit “Generate Code.”

The code (which looks like a funky matrix-like image) will display right on your computer. From there, you can do one of three things: 1) save the code by right-clicking on it and selecting “save as.” 2) Adjust the image size, of the code you made. Or 3) e-mail the code to yourself and grab it from there.

Oh, one more thing. Before you unleash the QR Code to the public, make sure it works. Get your smartphone (using a free QR-Code reader) and scan the code. Or find a buddy with a smartphone. To find a list of QR-Code readers, just Google it: Free QR Code Reader. Or browse through the available apps in your app store of choice.


Freebies are a great way to get new customers in your door. And it is well worth the investment on your part. Offer vouchers on Facebook, maybe in a trivia contest or interactive game. Or maybe just offer them first-come, first-served, limit of the first 10 or 20. Friends will forward to other friends. You’ll create your own buzz. Maybe do this once a month, or on special occasions.

Freebies are also an easy way to acquire new customers.  But they’ll only be back if they’re greeted with a quality product. So make sure, whatever you do, that you do it well. If someone visits you for a freebie, if the experience is a positive one, they will be back. And they’ll pay cash for it next time. Bad experience, good luck. Not even a freebie will bring them back.

Start a blog

The most time-consuming of the four, but a blog is a great way to share your expertise in your field. To brand yourself as an expert, in a sense.

It’s also a great way to stay on top of trends, new information and stay connected with your industry.

There are resources out there for Blog Etiquette about the frequency of your posts and blog content. They (the blog experts) say if you have a blog you should post once a week. I tend to agree, though a post every other week would be adequate. You would be safe with two posts a month of average length, or four shorter posts per month, once a week. You get the idea.

Whatever you do, be consistent. If you post the first and third week of the month, always post on the first and third week of the month. If you are not consistent, you’ll quickly lose whatever following you have.

There are a number of blog services that do not charge for use. Three leading blog services are WordPress, Blogspot/Blogger and Tumblr. I use WordPress to host this blog, though I pay an annual fee for the domain, The free domain would be If you don’t want the wordpress extension, you can buy a domain name for small annual fee.

Keep your content focused on truth, on topics that matter to your customers. Do not sell your business on your blog. That will happen organically after you’ve branded yourself as an expert in your  industry.

Click the above graphics [Wordpress, Blogger and Tumbr] to visit the sites.


Update: Two days after my post, I spotted the following stories, all three published on March 8, 2011. …for further reading on these topics.

1) eMarketer: Blogs and social media generate cheapest leads published 3/8/11

2) Advertising Age: Social Sampling Scores Big for Kleenex as a Million People Share Packs published 3/8/11

3) Mashable: Why QR Codes Will Go Mainstream published 3/8/11


A mobile Facebook

I watched The Social Network yesterday. It was my second time watching the Facebook-inspired biopic. It’s a great flick, however true-to-life it was. The film is bringing even wider publicity to the social networking site — originally called The Facebook as the movie accurately depicts — and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Screenshot of Facebook’s initial layout, The Facebook

It’s a communication vehicle, a networking resource, and so much more. In the movie, after Facebook had taken over at Harvard University, they make reference to the term “facebook me.” I guess it’s today’s version of, um, “look me up in the phone book.” But it’s definitely a sign of universal adoption, similar to Google’s climb to the top. “Google it.” Or Photoshop, which has become synonymous with photo editing. Becoming a verb is the ultimate goal for a company.

Users, all 500 million of them around the world, are spending more and more time on Facebook. At work, at home and on the go via smartphones. Even the term “on facebook” does not refer to anymore with the adoption of Facebook application for smartphones and the new Facebook phone itself.

Mobile is taking over my life. I’m on my Droid all day. And night. I’ll often be surfing the web on my Droid with my laptop right next to me. I use Facebook on my smartphone almost as much as I am on my laptop and my work PC.

I wrote some of this blog post on my Droid. Yep, with my recently installed WordPress app. In fact I’m writing this sentence on it.

I’ve read more news on my Droid (my first smartphone) in the last six months than probably the previous six years with access to newspaper and TV. Smartphone news apps like New York Times, USA Today, CNET News, Engadget, NPR News, CBS News, Yahoo! News, The Huffington Post and many more. Text-based and videos. In some cases, the same news videos that air on TV.

The world is becoming increasingly mobile. And the brands and companies that move with that shift will prosper. While those that don’t will have to play catch-up.

Smartphone users are on the rise, 60 percent higher at the end of 2010 than it was a year ago.  Smartphoners are ready to eclipse the number of feature phone (dumbphone) users. That should occur sometime in 2011.

In the three-month period between September of 2010 and December of 2010, nearly 25% of mobile subscribers accessed a social networking site.

Rockmelt web browser. Powered by Google’s Chromium, Rockmelt is like Google Chrome with full Facebook integration (as well as Twitter). I’m typing in it right now. The browser window looks the same. Tabs, the same. But my Facebook friends are in a side bar to my left. Facebook status updates pop up at the bottom of the screen from time to time, telling me what’s happening in my friend circle.

I can chat with my friends without opening a new tab, or without going to I just click on a friend’s name in the left panel and the chat bar slides open.

Below is a screenshot I took while composing this post. You can see my friends on the left panel.

Facebook application. The Facebook application on smartphones is a quicker, slimmer version of It launches faster than opening a browser on your smartphone and is basically a mobile version of the website. You can navigate all of Facebook’s features on the application, like the News Feed, your Profile, your Friends, Messages, Places, the new Groups feature, Events, Photos and Facebook Chat. Facebook chat on your mobile phone is a nice feature, essentially a free texting service. And an untitled photo stream, similar to the news feed but with only photos uploaded by your friends. And then there’s Facebook’s new messaging service.

The Facebook phone. Facebook itself is not building a phone, that we know of. But other manufacturers are building phones that integrate the social networking site into its phone (similar to Rockmelt’s inclusion in its web browser). One Facebook phone manufacturer is INQ (pronounced “ink”). The company has actually introduced two versions of its Facebook phone, the Cloud Touch and the Cloud Q.

“We want to have every user in every market using Facebook– we’re investing in smartphones and at the same time as in mass market phones because we believe with great features and great integrations, every phone can become sociable.” – Henri Moissinac, Facebook’s Head of Mobile Business

HTC (pronounced, um, HTC) is also developing a Facebook phone, set to be introduced this month according to reports. The phone will have a dedicated Facebook Button that will take users directly to Facebook. “It’s one of HTC’s main pushes for this year,” a person familiar with HTC’s strategy told Financial Times.

However the Facebook phones turn out,  one thing is for sure: this is only the beginning.

Facebook is integrating itself into every aspect of our lives. On the web, on our phones and on the go via status updates, photos, tagged friends and events.

Facebook’s “Like” feature, as Zuckerberg likely envisioned, stretches all across the web, making Facebook the center of it all.

And we all know it’s not over. Facebook is not done expanding, evolving and becoming even more entrenched in our personal and business lives. I, for one, welcome the intrusion.

Source: comScore, comScore MobiLens,,

Consumer Electronics Show…CES

Tomorrow’s gadgets, games and mind-blowing media, introduced today at the world’s largest consumer electronics trade show, CES.

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, CES, was held Jan. 6 through Jan. 9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Showcasing the next best things in every conceivable category, with some 2,500 media companies on display, CES gives us a look into the future. From the next DROID (the Droid Bionic), to the Porsche 918 RSR, the 767hp hybrid to Samsung’s flexible (and shatter-proof) mobile displays, then the weird…like the “eTime Home Endoscope.” As PC World puts it, “Finally–a way to peer into your loved ones’ mouths and ears, putting their orifices on display in a live computer video feed.”

Two trends to keep an eye on: 1) Music, particularly how we listen to radio at work, in the car and at home; 2) Television. I predict a big change in 2011 in the way we watch TV. We’ve already experienced the start of it with Netflix, Hulu, GoogleTV, Boxee Box, etc and devices like SlingBox, which slings your paid content to other sets and devices outside of your home. But I think this trend will explode in 2011 or early 2012. TV isn’t dead, it’s just evolving, and its audience is becoming fragmented.

Here are a few CES announcements I found noteworthy (and one or two I just found, well, strange)…

1) Toyota Entune infotainment system

Toyota Entune infotainment system hands-on

The Entune infotainment system incorporates navigation, media and entertainment into your dash via smartphone integration. Basically, it syncs applications from your smartphone (be it iPod, Droid or Blackberry) and displays the apps (like Pandora) on the dash. Including Bing search,, navigation, and music services like Pandora and iheartradio. Toyota has announced that some of these features are disabled while the vehicle is in motion (forcing you to fumble around on the tiny screen of your Blackberry instead, perhaps).

Entune is due on “select models” sometime this year.

2). Samsung GoogleTV Box and SmartTV platform

Television doesn’t live in box anymore. Well, it still kind of does, but that box is hooked up to the Internet. Connecting our HDTV sets to the world wide web syncs our Televisions to an array of programming and applications. Programming like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Vudu as well as applications (apps) that vary depending on the manufacturer, product and model. Samsung’s apps include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pandora, Blockbuster, ESPN, AP, USAToday, Yahoo!, Skype, and many more, all on your TV.

And good for us, everyone’s getting in on the act. From Apple to Zenith.

3. Motorola Xoom Tablet

Tablets melt the Web, Books and TV into one mobile device that goes where you go. Motorola Xoom is the latest, which utilizes the Android operating system, and includes the the first dual-core processor.

Finally a reason to be on Foursquare

While checking into Foursquare this week, I spotted something new: “Special.” I rubbed my eyes. Could this be?

So I clicked it and read the offer:

Welcome to Pizza Hut. The Mayor of this Pizza Hut receives one free single order of breadsticks per day with the purchase of a large pizza! (For Dine-in and Carry-out orders placed at the restaurant only)

A business taking advantage of Foursquare! Awesome. [I did realize there were businesses using this feature of Foursquare, but this was the first I spotted on my own and near my hometown.]

A user becomes “Mayor” if he or she checks in more frequently at a location than other users.

I was not Mayor of Pizza Hut at the time. And I was sitting at a Cafe in Barnes & Noble. So my excitement kind of ended there. But I did check to see what other businesses were offering specials for checking in, or becoming mayor. I found quite a few in and around my town, State College, Pa.

To make Foursquare profitable for your business, here’s the link:

Foursquare’s message to businesses: As a business owner, you can use foursquare to engage your increasingly mobile customers with foursquare “Specials,” which are discounts and prizes you can offer your loyal customers when they check in on foursquare at your venue. Don’t forget to show extra love to your venue’s Mayor! Additionally, if you offer foursquare Specials to your customers, you will be able to track how your venue is performing over time thanks to our robust set of venue analytics — for free!

I joined Foursquare about six months ago to learn more about the network and to uncover how it can be used in the world of advertising. I’ve seen more and more of my colleagues and associates join and check in around town. And now — with actual incentives to check in, to become Mayor or earn badges — Foursquare users should start to pile up in State College.

Just in time, too. With Facebook recently introducing its Places feature, there’s about to be a lot more competition in the ring.