Apr 252013

Image: FoursquareThis part of our "Getting Started" series, we're going to discuss Foursquare.  I know a great many of you likely haven't heard of this Social networking application before. Wikipedia says the following about Foursquare:

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website for mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users "check in" at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by selecting from a list of venues the application locates nearby. Location is based on GPS hardware in the mobile device or network location provided by the application. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes "badges".

Foursquare is available on all major smartphones, such as Android, iOS Devices, Windows Phone, Blackberry and even PlayStation Vita.  Other Mobile devices can also "Check-in" via the FREE Navigation Software "Waze".

What makes Foursquare so attractive is that not only is it fun for end users, but also a great marketing tool for business owners. Business owners (primarily retail and restaurants) offer 'Specials' to people who check-in at their location as a reward.  Remember, these Specials are also "Incentives" for the customer. Not just to check-in, but to return, and become a loyal customer. There are a number of options to select from:

  • Swarm Special - When a certain number of folks check-in, "X" special becomes available. Example: "If 10 people check-in at once, each receive a free appetizer"
  • Newbie Special - Provided to users on their very first check-in.  Example: "Hey! This is your first check-in at "Sally's Fine Clothing" you receive 10% off your bill."
  • Check-in Special - Usually a time limited promotion that would be given to anyone who may check-in within the special promotional period. Example: "Receive a free cookie when you check-in"

NOTE: All of the above allow for fine print to be entered, which is viewable by the customer. Conditions such as "Available on check-in and an additional purchase of $10 or more".  Further note that all specials are reviewed by Foursquare before they  go active. This is to make sure that you are properly covered. If you are going to create a special, and are uncertain on how to do it, please feel free to contact us. We are Foursquare Superusers (Admins) and Ambassadors, and are well versed in the use of Foursquare for Business.

One of the other great ways that Foursquare allows business owners to attract business,  is to reward your loyal customers.  You have a customer who comes by 2-3 times a week. Wouldn't it be great to reward them? This is like an electronic version of the "Punchcard" marketing technique, where customers receive a card, which is punched at every visit.

  • Loyalty Special - Allows to you reward all your loyal customers for checking in on Foursquare.  Example: "Receive a free muffin every 5th check-in.
  • Mayor Special - The "Mayor" is the one customer you have who has checked-in the most number of times of the past 60 days.  A lot of locations see being the Mayor as a bit of a contest.  Example: "Our Mayor receives 20% off their entire bill!" or "The Mayor receives special VIP treatment when they come in for a Mani/Peti. This creates a lot of competition to see who can be Mayor, which means higher sales for you.

What makes these Specials so important is when a user in your immediate geographic area and looking for locations, sites with Specials are moved to the top of the list, and are VERY visible.

The current Foursquare application has a dedicated area for sites that have current and active Specials. Further to this, while browsing in their current georgraphical area, sites will specials are listed first, and have a "Special" tag associated with them. Making them very visible to your potential customer.

What does a Special look like?

Image: Foursquare Reward

Example reward for location Mayor

  1. Type of Special
  2. Text of Special - what the customer may receive
  3. Special showing as "Unlocked".  A locked special will not show this. Usually a padlock icon is visible to show "Locked" or "Unlocked" specials.
  4. Fine print. Include further details about your offer, and any conditions that may apply.

Signing up

End User:

Getting started with Foursquare is really as simple as downloading the FREE Foursquare app from the devices software store. Creating an account is simply a matter of answering a couple of questions, and you're all set.


Start off by visiting Foursquare's Business Claim page. You will either need to log in, or sign up if you do not already have an account. From here, you'll go through a series of verification steps to prove that you are the "official" representative of the business.  When you've finished the claiming process, you will have access to a great number of free tools to help build your up your online site.  One of the best tools is the ability to analyze your check-ins with history, and analytics.

How would you see your business using Foursquare?