How To Use Foursquare

Foursquare logoFoursquare is pretty nifty.  More than eight million people worldwide are using Foursquare with more than 2.5 million check-ins each day.  If you aren’t familiar with the application launched in early 2009, I’ll break it down for you and show you how to use if for your business and you personally (uh, hello, free stuff).

What is it? Foursquare is a location-based software application for mobile devices such as Blackberry, iPhone, Android, etc. or through SMS (text message).

The concept: Users have the ability to use the GPS in their phone and check-in to places they are currently visiting.  Users can see who else is there including friends, different tips people have posted (ie. order the burger, it’s phenomenal), and become eligible to become the mayor, receive specials,  and unlock badges.  Becoming a mayor of a location simply means you have visited that place more times than anyone else.  Quick tip: Foursquare only allows people with profile photos to become mayor.

How to use it for business:

Foursquare is an exceptional tool to generate new or repeat customers, reward the most frequent visitors, and get valuable insights on who is actually visiting a location.  Businesses have the opportunity to claim their venue, giving them access to reports on who checks-in and providing the ability to create Foursquare specials.  There are multiple specials that can be run depending on a business’ goals.  The same rules noted in my previous post on why social media is a waste of time are still applicable here.  **Do not start Foursquare for your business unless you have a clear goal or objective in mind and a way to evaluate your success.  Fortunately, the table below from Foursquare outlines their different special opportunities and even tells you what your goal is.

Foursquare | Internet MarketingBut, what if a business or organization doesn’t have a venue?

Have no fear, brands can also participate on Foursquare.  Users earn points and badges by checking-in and Foursquare has made it possible for brands without a specific venue to have a page and offer badges.  Foursquare brands like Zagat and CNN have badges that can be unlocked for users that check-in to Zagat user-rated restaurants and for healthy eating.

How to use Foursquare for you

Foursquare allows you to see where your friends are, find a ‘trending place’ that has a lot of people checked-in, gain access to insider tips and reviews, and the ability to cash in on specials.  Venues will offer incentives to visit their location by offering free gifts, discounts, and other perks. I’ve scored free drinks, dessert, and half-off dinners! Aside from the free stuff, Foursquare is useful in figuring out a busy place to go on a Friday or deciding what to order off the menu at a restaurant. 

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