Why Foursquare? “Foursquare gives everyday people, venues and local merchants a voice. It opened the doors for businesses to see a whole new way
of seeing their customer.” ~Dennis Crowley, Foursquare Co-Founder and CEO
It is 50% friend finder, 30% social city guide and 20% nightlife game. You check into a venue, then the service tells your network of friends, recommends things to do in the area and awards you points and badges for your activity. It also lets you recommend things to do to other people and allows you to track what you have done yourself.
Mobile Marketing is an emerging trend and Foursquare is the most popular location-based smart phone application. According to Mongoose Metrics, “If you don’t start understanding and implementing mobile marketing now – ahead of the curve – you might lose out on the biggest opportunity since the invention of online marketing.”
Foursquare has reached over 1 million users. The reason for this surge in popularity is related to the increased use of smart phones. Neilsen researchers are predicting that in 2012, smart phones will be the most used mobile device in the U.S. Also, statistics show that smart phone consumers spend over $6.2 billion and have downloaded over 4.5 million times. So it makes sense that mobile marketing is about to explode.
So…you see the trend, now jump on board. It’s an easy concept and an easy interface, plus it’s kind of fun.
So the trend is obvious, but you may be thinking, how can my business turn a profit from a smart phone application?
As a business owner, you can use Foursquare to engage your increasingly mobile customers with Foursquare-specific “specials”, which are discounts and prizes you can offer your most loyal customers when they check-in on Foursquare at your venue.
Because you are continually engaging with your best customers and rewarding them, they will in turn broadcast this to their friends and connections, which will repeatedly increase exposure to your business. This will ultimately drive more traffic to your venue and obviously increase profits for your business.
Not bad for a free cell phone application that provides free advertising.
How Does Foursquare Work?
Foursquare operates on GPS. A person “checks-in” to a business and can leave a tip for others. The interface will also show users the nearby businesses that are registered with Foursquare as well as their locations. The user will then have the ability to read customer tips for the nearby businesses and the tips for their present location.
Another very cool feature is that Foursquare can be linked up with a user’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, so every time a customer leaves a Foursquare status update or check-in, this same update will be posted to their Twitter and Facebook accounts as well. Which ultimately means massive exposure to your business.
How Do I Engage and Reward My Customers on Foursquare?
Foursquare allows you to accomplish this with their self-service tools. You are able to create different kinds of Foursquare Specials, manage multiple Specials and ultimately track how these Specials perform. These services will empower your business to develop a more engaging and ongoing relationship with your customers.
Each special can be customized just for your venue and tailored towards your unique clientele or customers.
Here are just a few of the Specials you could award a loyal customer who unlocks a Foursquare badge:
- Mayor Specials-unlocked by your most loyal customers-the user who has checked in the most within the last 60 days. Your user could receive a message similar to this: “Foursquare has deemed you the mayor! Enjoy a free order of fries!”
- Check-In Specials-unlocked when a user checks in to your venue a certain number of times. Your message could read something like this: “Foursquare says you’ve checked in 10 times, that’s a free drink for you!”
- Frequency-Based Specials: unlocked every X check ins. For example: ” Foursquare users get 20% off any entree every 5th check-in, congrats!”
- Wildcard Specials-always unlocked but your staff has to verify some extra conditions before awarding the Special. For example: “Show us your Foursquare swarm badge and get a free drink!”
For grins, here is a very comprehensive list of the various badges available in Foursquare, you can see how this could be slightly addicting: BADGES!
Imagine putting up a flyer near your front door or waiting area indicating that the “Foursquare Mayor Drinks for Free” or Foursquare Mayor gets a $15.00 coupon to be Used for Services”, proceeded by directions on how to become mayor and some of your other Specials they can earn.
How Do I Promote The Foursquare Specials?
This is where you can use your creative imagination, but many businesses are currently doing it via Twitter, at their cash registers, sidewalk blackboards, via email newsletters, in-store posters, etc.
Foursquare will help you promote your Specials also. After you’ve claimed your venue on Foursquare and entered your mailing details, they will send you official Foursquare window clings. Also, Foursquare will actively call attention to venues that offer Specials to their mobile clients. They will inform the customer who just checked into your venue what they have to do unlock your free offers. Even if a potential customer is just nearby your venue, Foursquare will alert them to your business Specials and that they should swing by.
What Else Can Foursquare Do?
They will provide real-time venue stats for you. These will include:
- most recent visitors
- most frequent visitors
- the time of day people check in
- total number of unique visitors
- histogram of check-ins per day
- gender breakdown of customers
- portion of Foursquare check-ins broadcast to Twitter & Facebook
- …and much more coming soon!
How Do I Sign Up For Foursquare?
First you must join Foursquare here: JOIN!
Then you will need to check and see if your venue has already been claimed on Foursquare: CHECK IT!
If it hasn’t, then add your venue to Foursquare here (you will need to enter your login details from when you initially joined Foursquare): ADD IT!
That’s it! You’ve just entered the wonderful world of mobile marketing. Now engage with your customers and reward the most loyal ones, and soon you will be on your way to creating viral exposure for your business and ultimately driving traffic to your front door.
Remember, social media managers, (and may we toot our own horn…) like Bee Social can help you manage these mobile marketing campaigns if you want a hands-off approach to this type of marketing. We will review with you what’s working and what’s not working and collaborate with you for best results.
Watch the quick video below to view a basic overview of how a user would implement Foursquare.
Read a great post on the Top 5 Ways Big Brands are Using Foursquare.
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