For those of you who don’t know, Foursquare is a location-based social network, where users “check in” at physical locations. It’s a little more “real life” based than many social networks, as it’s based on where you actually are. I enjoy using it, but am far more selective on who I am friends with on Foursquare than on most other social networks, since it’s based on where I physically am at any given time.
Foursquare has emerged as the leader in Location-based social networking, with almost 30 million users and an array of features for both users and businesses. Gowalla and mytown also exist, but are pretty far behind Foursquare in overall use.
What I like about Foursquare is that they make a game of it, so as to keep it more engaging. For example, the person who checks in at a location the most within a two-month period becomes the “mayor” – this can both be a little addicting, a bit competitive, and beneficial since many businesses offer a perk to the Mayor. Other businesses give something to first check-ins, for a certain number of checkins, and so on. Use your imagination on how you can reward your loyal customers and keep them coming back again and again. This is where effective marketing using Foursquare is most beneficial.
Today, I received an email from Foursquare, that revealed some of the new changes coming up as well as a recap of 2012:
2012 has been a pretty huge year. We’ve released over fifty new features, welcomed nearly 15,000,000 new people to Foursquare, and had our 3,000,000,000th check-in. It’s a bit clichéd to say this, but your support really is what keeps us going day after day.
Perhaps the most useful new feature for businesses incorporating Foursquare as part of their marketing strategy is this:
A business on Foursquare will be able to see more of their recent customers. Currently, a business using Foursquare (like your corner coffee shop) can see the customers who have checked in in the last three hours (in addition to the most recent and their most loyal visitors). This is great for helping store owners identify their customers and give them more personal service or offers. But a lot of businesses only have time to log in at the end of the day to look at it. So, with this change, we’re going to be showing them more of those recent check-ins, instead of just three hours worth. As always, if you’d prefer not to permit businesses to see when you check into their locations going forward, you can uncheck the box under ‘Location Information’ at https://foursquare.com/settings/privacy.
There’s a useful article on the Examiner on 10 ways to market your business on Foursquare here. In July 2011, Mashable wrote about several successful Foursquare marketing campaigns in an article here.
Just taking a few minutes to do the basics can help you get more customers and keep customers coming back.