For those who do not own a smartphone, foursquare is a localization App available on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, and Palm cell phones that allows users to “check in” to various locales, announce to their foursquare friends where they are, and even publish their check-ins to Twitter and Facebook. While there are several similar Apps in the App Store, foursquare allows users to become the “mayor” of their locales if they check in often enough and even award badges for completing different types of check-ins, such as checking in after 3 a.m. on a school night or checking in 30 times in one month. These badges call also be published on Facebook and Twitter. If videogames have taught marketers anything, it’s that people will flock toward applications that award achievements and badges, especially if said virtual rewards appear on other popular social media.
So what does this mean for these local businesses?
Foursquare allows anyone – whether on a smartphone or on the computer – to find out who has been frequenting that locale and checking in and who currently reigns as mayor. Businesses could use their smartphones to simply find out who has liked their store enough to even check in. If they have several people checking in throughout the day, then they could further encourage customers to stop by and check in by offering special promotions for those who check in, or whoever holds the mayoral title. I know I would personally love it if the local Starbucks that I lord over would simply thank me for coming by and checking in so often.
Businesses can find even more use for the app from its website. Unlike the smartphone App, one does not have to be a foursquare member or user in order to use the website. The website will show anyone the most recent users who have checked in, if anyone has left any tips or to-dos for the locale, and visitors can click on any of the checked-in users to find out more about them.
Businesses could use the tips and to-dos to announce promotions specifically for foursquare-users, thereby announcing their appreciation for check-ins and strengthening their relations with their customers. If they click on their check-in customers, they can also find out if the customers had a positive or negative experience at their business by their check-in announcements. More than likely, these tweet-like descriptions will just be, “My morning workout at the gym!” or “Meeting with attorney,” but you can bet that if the customer has a bad experience at your business, they will most definitely use foursquare – if not other forms of social media – to announce it.
Of course, none of this will work nearly as well if the business’s employees continually check in when they arrive at work. If you want to start using foursquare for marketing needs, be sure to tell your employees not to check in.
If you think that foursquare could help your business with marketing and customer relations, be sure to contact us to find out how we can manage and maintain your foursquare account and promotions marketing as well as your other social media needs!