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This is not your parents Foursquare.


not-your-fathers-foursquare-300x198.png Remember the days playing this in school? Foursquare means business now!

Nor is this another rendition of Kick-The-Can!

This, ladies and gentlemen, is one of my favorite SoLoMo (Social Local Mobile) apps out there, and as a business it should be one of yours too! Let me ask you something…

Do you have a local business that thrives on needing new walk-in customers, and a business that values, more than life itself, repeat customers?

If you answered yes, and you better have, Foursquare is an application that you should deploy and use to help market your business immediately.

I keep hearing from business owners, looking for easy and inexpensive ways to get the word out about their business, and one of my go-to answers is always Foursquare.

They often look at me as if they have no clue as to what I am talking about, so I educate them on the value and opportunity, and in the end many still think it is too much work, or it may not work, or it may not be worth their time. Well, I say (shaking my fists in the air) YES it is!

Now let me ask you Mr. or Mrs. small business owner… How much real money does it cost you to run an ad on TV or radio? How about an ad in a local paper? How much are you spending on other marketing initiatives? Do you know how much Foursquare costs? Here is a hint… it’s FREE! (that’s less than air!)

The Basics of Foursquare:

Foursquare is a mobile (and desktop) application that allows patrons of your business to check-in to your location, and by doing so also alerting friends they are there. Users may also share their check-in to Facebook and Twitter, and they may leave a comment about your business and maybe even upload some photos as well. Social word of mouth does not get any better than this.
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There is somewhat of a game element to Foursquare, and it all started out by allowing users to become “Mayor” of a business. I bet many of you:

  • Did not know you were already on Foursquare (bet if you look will find your business)
  • Did not know you probably have a Mayor of your establishment (shame, as you should treat your royalty well)
  • Did not know you are ignoring this valuable platform (it’s OK, that is why I am here to help you)

At the moment, Foursquare has a lot of FREE tools they offer, and all you need to do is claim your spot, and start offering specials.

As I mentioned earlier, you may already be on the platform since Foursquare users create the locations. So get going! Claim and verify your location and you will be off to the races.

This is what the dashboard looks like for SEO.com. Foursquare-SEOcom-Dashboard-670x277.png


Foursquare-JiffyLube-Special-576x1024.png Get a special at Jiffy Lube – Save some money? OK!

While we do value repeat business, we do not have walk-in traffic, so I am usually the mayor (where’s my crown?). But let’s say you are a resturaunt, a dry cleaner or a flower shop… from here, you can create specials such as:

  • Discounts
  • Freebies
  • Loyalty Specials

Where Foursquare has hit he nail on the head is with their search capabilities. Foursquare has one of the most up-to-date local listing directories out there. Some may say it rivals Google. In fact Foursquare’s local listings power many other mobile phone applications such as Path (and many others).

Listings are first created by users. Superusers keep tabs on things like address changes, or if a business has closed, and can suggest changes be made to the listing etc. There are different ways to search:

  • Best Nearby
  • Specials
  • Food
  • Nightlife
  • Coffee

But you can search for whatever you want… so let’s look at a couple of searches:

Foursquare-piano-bar-search-576x1024.pngFoursqueare-pizza-search-576x1024.png Foursquare-special-listings-main-576x1024.png Foursquare-best-nearby-576x1024.png

As a pure discovery engine, Foursquare is amazing. One night I may want to try a place friends rave about. And on another night I may want to try something new. Maybe it is a new pizza joint with a check-in deal to make it more enticing. And to you dear business owner, entice myself and others to try your place out and folks like me will spread the good word!

Foursquare is like having in-store Google analytics, but for humans!

Back in your admin area of Foursquare, you get some pretty cool data. You can see all sorts of visitor activity such as:

  • Check-Ins at your venue
  • Unique customers
  • First time customers
  • Top Visitors
  • Recent Visitors
  • People who liked your Venue
  • And more

Do you get it? This is VERY valuable data! You can use this information to engage with your customers, learn what you do well, see where you can improve etc. But most of all listen, thank, and engage. If you have a great business, word will spread!

As an avid Foursquare user, I am always bummed because I do not see as many local businesses taking advantage of this platform. I am a “check-in-o-holic”, and I am always looking for a good deal, or a reason to try someplace new.

I know I may live in the Internet bubble, but I am not hearing your ads on the radio or TV, nor am I seeing them in the paper. Reach out to me where I am, where many more customers are. Build a legion of raving fans for your business, and watch what can happen. And you can start doing that right now with Foursquare.

Now do not just claim your spot, and set up specials and call it good. Train your staff so they know to expect people coming in. Also, let current customers know you are on Foursquare. Maybe have a POP display at a table. Have staff let them know that if they check-in there is a discount. Get people engaged with your brand!

As with anything, there is no magic bullet. If you build it they will not necessarily come. Take advantage of Foursquare and other tools to help make your company more top of mind when someone says to themselves… “I want to try ___________, where should I go?”

I hope you enjoyed this post and, and I hope you now see why your business should be on Foursquare! Now get out there and start using this awesome platform.

If you have any other questions regarding Foursquare, leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you.

You can also hit me up on all the major social networks.

Until next time…