Foursquare is not just an app used to pass the time anymore, it’s full-fledged social technology that can help businesses’ loyalty and awareness grow. For those of you that are unfamiliar (and it’s ok if you are!) Foursquare is a location-based check-in app that you can access on your smart phone or computer. I signed up for the app last year and really starting using it this fall. The biggest misconception (that I found at least) was people worrying about strangers knowing their whereabouts. This is not entirely true. A lot of my friends were skeptical, but they converted and are now foursquare-aholics (as am I). The only people that can see you are your friends that follow you. Other than that, once you’ve checked in to a place, people that are also checked in there can see you too. But of course they can see you physically anyway since you’re at the same place. Still worried? No fear, you have complete control over your Contact and Location information that you can adjust via the Settings.
What Does Foursquare Do?
Once you check-in to a certain location there could be tips, deals, and other information regarding your whereabouts. The tips are great since people that leave tips generally have been to the place multiple times. It’s great to know that when I’m at Gate C8 in the airport there is free coffee from 6AM-10AM. There are also pictures posted from previous check-ins. So you might get to see what the food looks like at the restaurant you’re at or how many people attended a past event at the venue you’re at. For me personally, the best part of a check-in is if a deal comes with it. For instance, ever other time I check-in to YEAH! Burger I get 15% off my entire check. Not too shabby for a measly tap of a button. Another fun feature is if you check in to certain places sometimes you earn a badge, and if you check-in somewhere the most you could become the mayor. Right now my favorite badge I’ve earned is the “Fresh Brew” badge that I won after several check-ins at coffee houses. As for my mayorships? Not terribly impressive, but I am mayor of Everspark! Check out some screenshots of Foursquare in action:
Pretty nifty right?
It’s even better when you think about it from a business perspective. Here’s a few examples of what businesses have done with Foursquare and how you can use it to leverage your own business’ marketing.
The City Badge
Right now, Foursquare is in the process of creating badges for cities in the US and abroad. Users can send in lists of places they believe are go-to destinations in their respective cities. This was a by-product of the White House’s initiative to boost US cities’ tourism. If your business made it onto one of these lists it may be considered one of THE places to go in your city. Atlanta’s badge was launched on December 22 along with Singapore’s. To earn the peach badge just check-in to 5 of the 75 locations on Foursqares Atlanta List. (I even submitted a list for my hometown!
These are the recently released city badges for Atlanta and Singapore.
Mayors have klout!
If you have a business that people come to a lot, be sure to pay attention to who the mayor is. They’re the customer that frequents your establishment the most. Chances are they bring you a good amount of business personally and with referrals to friends. The Boston Phoenix even does articles on the mayors of different businesses around Boston. One quirky perk is a special parking spot for the mayor of the Marketfair Mall in Princeton, NJ:
This is by far the coolest perk of using Foursquare that I’ve come across so far!
A new feature on Foursquare is the explore option. All consumers have to do is type in what they’re looking for or choose from the Foursquare categories (Specials, Food, Coffee, Nightlife…etc.). This is a great tool because if your business is in the vicinity of someone it will show up in their search (based on relevance, of course). The search results can depend on where a person’s been before, where they haven’t been before, and where their friends have been. For restaurants in particular they’ve added full menus to the Foursquare website (coming soon to the app). Looks like I’m going to the Cheesecake factory for dinner tonight…
Foursquare explore is like it’s own local search engine.
Foursquare for Business
The most important feature for businesses on foursquare though is the Business or Brand Page that you can create. Here you can gain total control of your location (with manager approval). With this control come options to link your Twitter page and create deals for your customers. Think of this page as a supplement to your website, Facebook page, and Twitter. It’s a quadruple threat with Foursquare monitoring customers that come and go in real time. A case study (via Foursquare) showed that a steak house in Manhattan differentiated itself by offering a free dessert with every check in. The steak house saw 400 people check-in to redeem the deal and had an estimated $18,000 ROI.
Skeptical? Don’t Be
Skeptical about Foursquare’s reach and its effectiveness? In 2010 alone the mobile check-in app grew 3400% (that like a 5ft person growing 1700ft taller in one year!). Today they have over 15 million users in the US and abroad and have reached the 1.5 billion check-in threshold. Their business pages exceed 600,000. According to Foursquare, Radioshack launched a business page to spur business and provide deals to their most loyal customers. Radioshack noticed that fans of the page spent 350% more than the average Radioshack customer. Creating a business page allows a company to interact with their most loyal customers.
Want the full digital marketing experience for your business? I know that if I love a company I follow them every chance I get. The more they interact with me the more I love and support them. Jump on the Foursquare bandwagon and build your business and brand loyalty!
For more fun Foursquare info go to the Foursquare blog page!
Looking for more information about Foursquare, social media marketing, or anything else currently affecting the interactive marketing world? Want to learn how these factors impact Search Engine Optimization? Check back with our blog for regular updates and free tips. With more specific questions, call EverSpark Interactive at 770-481-1766.