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Checking In: Deals, Prizes, and Sexual Health?

“I could seriously stalk you.”  This is a comment I often hear from my friends due to the fact that I really enjoy checking in on FourSquare.  Not to mention, I LOVE getting deals when I check in (my favorite deal I received so far was 10 percent off my frozen yogurt at Berry Chill in Chicago).  As social media continues to be a large presence in our lives- from 145 million people on Twitter to 500 million people on Facebook – and with a rising trend of location based check-ins, could social media replace print advertising?  An interesting article in the Wall Street Journal outlines three things for businesses to do to develop relationships with their consumers via location based social media outlets like FourSquare and Facebook. jg-91710

I am sad to say that I was late in the game joining FourSquare, so I am not a mayor of any location yet; however, I do have my sights set on a coffee shop I frequent near my apartment.  Would I go there more often if they offered a check-in reward?  Absolutely.  Even ten percent off a purchase is enough to give incentive.  As I continue to go to this coffee shop, those ten percent off check-ins will begin to add up.  This is one of the tips offered in the WSJ article by Riva Richmond.   Richmond writes, “Even if you do nothing, people may discover you through location-based services.”  Additionally, Richmond spoke to a business owner in California that claims his social media customers are more frequent than anyone bringing in his coupons offered in print advertising.  Do more people pay attention to digital offers that what’s on paper these days?

MTV and FourSquare seem to think so.  The newest badge on FourSquare:  the “GYT Badge” for check-ins about sexually transmitted diseases.  You don’t have to go back and re-read that because you read it correctly the first time.  MTV and FourSquare have formed a new partnership to reward anyone for checking in to a health center for sexual health checkups.  The campaign is called “GYT” or “Get Yourself Tested”.  On board with MTV and FourSquare are The Kaiser Family Foundation, Planned Parenthood, and the CDC.  Jason Rzepka, Vice President at MTV was a guest blogger for the Huffington Post and encourages others to unlock the “GYT” badge.  As a Public Health undergrad and health prevention advocate, I continuously discuss with my professors how we combat the fear and stigma of STD testing, pap smears, breast exams, and other methods of sexual health prevention without scaring away the patient for good.  I am personally on the fence about unlocking the “GYT” badge on FourSquare for my next checkup but when I think about the millions of girls my age that don’t know that pap smears are supposed to start within a year of sexual activity or at age 21, I know that when I unlock that badge, I’ll wear it with pride.  Not only does the GYT badge make you smart but it also keeps you safe.  And who doesn’t want that?

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