Location-Based Social Networks are Rapidly Growing

Location-based social media networks are an interactive marketing development that is rapidly growing in popularity. Through the use of social media and GPS on Smartphones, physical places become shareable. Let’s examine two popular geo-location social media platforms.

MyTown, created by Booyah, hit 2 million users on May 5, 2010, giving it the top spot in location-based social media. MyTown has experienced a 100% gain since February, demonstrating the tremendously rapid growth in the sector. Booyah recently received $20 million in financing from Accel Partners to expand the company’s “real and digital world offerings”. In other exciting news for the social gaming company, on May 19th Booyah announced MyTown will be the first and leading partner of Google’s new Places Web Service feature.

The game of MyTown has a Monopoly-like concept where users buy and own their favorite real-life locations and collect rent when other people check in to those places. The GPS check-ins earn credits towards rewards in the game.

With roughly 1.1 million users, Foursquare gives you the ability to “unlock your world and find happiness around the corner. You will need Foursquare, a cell phone and a passion for exploration,” says their introduction video.

Simply download the Foursquare application on your cell phone and instantly link to your address book, Facebook friends and Twitter friends to “discover where your friends are hanging out”. Check in depending on your GPS location. If the place you are at is not listed, you can add it to Foursquare. Then give suggestions for things to do in the area or recommendations on what to order at a specific restaurant. If you check in more than anyone else at a certain location, you become the mayor.

Businesses are taking advantage of the free interactive marketing opportunity by offering check-in discounts and special mayor discounts to attract customers. Foursquare is not limited to restaurants, but can be used at museums, airports, public transportation and concerts just to name a few. Retail stores like Kate Spade are offering 15% off merchandise to people who check-in!

With the growth of these location-based mobile applications, new opportunities are available for businesses to connect with their fans beyond the computer screen. MyTown and Foursquare or just two of the many networks that will influence the way we do social media marketing. Watch out for Gowalla and Yahoo’s newly purchased mobile app, Koprol.