43 Tips on How to Use Foursquare for Your Business

By BKV in Mobile on February 12th, 2010

Foursquare, the mobile check-in service that's getting major attention from marketers, businesses and customers alike, isn't always the easiest platform to leverage for business. Well, that is if you haven't taken the time to think about all the ways Foursquare can be used. Luckily, that's what we're here for! If you aren't familiar with the ins and outs of Foursquare, check out our previous post "The Foursquare 411." After that, head on below where you'll find a list of 43 ways your business can use Foursquare. First, set it all up: 1. Search for your business on Foursquare.com. 2. If it isn't there, add it using this link. 3. After you've found or added your business, claim your business by hitting the link on your listing that looks like this: Foursquare Add Venue Button 4. Also, make sure to link your Twitter account to your listing. The claiming process is fairly simple. Once that is done, it's time to start using Foursquare to help promote your business! Deals, deals and more deals: 5. Reward first time visitors. Give users a percentage or dollar amount off their bill the first time they check in. 6. Or a free upgrade! 7. Replace your loyalty card - give discounts or rewards every 5 or 10 times someone visits your business. 8. Reward the mayor. Give them a freebie or discount. 9. Or call them out, putting their name up on the wall and thanking them for being the mayor! 10. Create deals around big events. Give a free drink for anyone checking in after the big game, or a % off during a conference. 11. Have evergreen specials, like 10% off for anyone who checks in on Foursquare. Remember, a check in is free publicity. 12. Change deals often. Keep users coming back for different specials by swapping them out. 13. Cross promote your properties that are in close proximity. If users check in at one, present a deal for the other part of your business next door. 14. Make deals "limited time only." Give a sense of urgency to persuade users to come now instead of later. 15. Stave off seasonality or weekly trends. Have a part of your business that struggles on Tuesdays? Promote that part in the deal. Foursquare Screenshot16. Highlight existing deals. Just because you don't have any Foursquare exclusives doesn't mean that users won't want to know about other deals. 17. Promote group check ins. Make deals progressively better (10, 20, 30% off etc) the more people in your group check in. 18. Accept competitor deals. What better deal is there than "We accept all competitor coupons."? 19. Bring them back with a "next time" coupon on check in. Give a coupon redeemable on the next visit, ensuring the customers will visit you again. 20. Use "2 for 1" deals that require both parties to check in. Double the promotion for half the work! 21. Interact with your customers. Make them accomplish a small task (build an origami figure out of a napkin, high five the sales person, say a "passphrase") to redeem the Foursquare special. 22. Give deals to users who leave behind Foursquare tips. You can regulate this by saying "the first X people to leave a tip get a free shirt!" Deals will show up in the "deals nearby" section on iPhones, meaning your business will stand out above the rest. Create events: 23. Host a swarm party. The Swarm badge can only be achieved if 50+ users check in at the same place, so help organize that event at your business for local users. Foursquare Swarm Badge24. Better yet, host a Super Swarm Party! This badge takes 250+ people checking in at the same venue at the same time. These are rare events and have been great ways for businesses to bring in new business. 25. Create temporary venues. Speaking at an event? Have a booth at a conference? Users can check in anywhere on Foursquare, so create locations for these temporary venues. 26. Promote grand openings. Give away freebies or deals for the first X people who check in on opening day - build buzz for your brand new location and create loyal customers at the same time! Create custom badges: 27. Have more than one location? Give users who check in multiple places a specially branded badge! 28. Create event-based badges, like a badge that can only be earned when checking in during an industry conference. Fix Flags Foursquare Badge 29. Create a badge that you can only get if you check in to your venue a certain number of times. Apple has a "Jobs" badge for triple-checkins. Custom badges have to be created by Foursquare, so you'll need to contact them and form a partnership at this point. Lots of companies have done so though, so Foursquare is more than open to adding new badges. Join in the fun: 30. Create an account and start checking in. People will notice when they keep checking in the same places as you. 31. Connect with your customers. Follow them on Foursquare, but make sure to let them know why they should follow you back (which is discussed in the next section). 32. Shout! If you've gathered a number of followers and know of some interesting news or of fun happenings in your local area, shout the information to your followers. 33. Monitor on Twitter. Many users automatically post their check ins to Twitter. Thank those customers for coming in and invite them back with an exclusive Twitter deal! 34. Get to know your mayor. This doesn't only apply to within Foursquare, but make sure you know who your mayor is (they will be redeeming mayor deals, so this should be easy). You should always know your best customers 35. However, don't BE the mayor. Since you work there, you will have the easiest time being the mayor of your business. This takes away the fun of checking in and means you will never be able to award mayor deals to an actual loyal customer. Get local, give tips: 36. Give tips in your area to get more followers. Businesses like the Huffington Post and IFC provide local tips and recommendations to their followers on a regular basis. 37. Create a scavenger hunt around your local area, leading users through or to your local business. 38. Monitor for duplicate or incorrect information. This can apply to your business or any of those around you. A clean list of businesses, without duplicates or incorrect listings, makes it easier for customers to find your correct listing. Promote your presence: 39. Put up Foursquare signage reminding customers to check in. Include your deals to incentivize it even more! 40. Also include your Foursquare username so customers can connect with you. Explain why they should follow you as well (local tips/deals, local expertise). 41. Get your business in the "Trending Now" section. Businesses that have multiple people check in within a small period of time are highlighted at the top of the Places list, so coordinate check ins if you can. 42. Connect with local Foursquare deal aggregators and enthusiasts. In Atlanta there is a Twitter account @4sqATL (website at http://4sqatl.com) that covers local deals and specials. I bet there is one in your area too. Foursquare Check-in Prompt Sticker 43. Cross promote from other social media platforms. Remind your Twitter followers or Facebook fans of your Foursquare deals. While this is a fairly long list, there are plenty of other ideas out there. Have you seen any cool Foursquare promotions in your area? Have any ideas? Leave them in the comments! We'll update this post over time to include your suggestions so we have the most extensive list of ways businesses can use Foursquare. Kyle Wegner is the SEO & Emerging Media Manager at BKV. He also podcasts at The Business of Tech and you can find him on Twitter @kwegner and on Google Buzz.