If you have never heard of Foursquare, it is a geo-location app that uses coordinates from a user’s mobile device to set their location and share it with their friends and social networks. Foursquare users “check-in” to venues based on their location and can share it with their friends on foursquare, as well as publish the check-in to their Facebook wall or Twitter timeline. There is also a big gaming aspect as users earn points, badges, and mayorships.
Foursquare has huge potential as a tool for businesses. The Foursquare for Business page outlines why you should set your business up on Foursquare and how to do so. Foursquare offers two different for solutions looking to expand their social media presence: the Merchant Platform, for businesses with a central location, and the Brand Platform. The differences are outlined below, but both offer the opportunity to connect to and expand your community of followers and customers.
Foursquare Merchant Platform
The first step is to claim your venue. Since Foursquare has been around for a while and is very popular, it’s likely a location has already been created for your venue. Once you claim it and Foursquare verifies that you actually manage the venue, you will have control of the venue and be able to create specials, use the merchant dashboard, and more.
What you can do
- Create specials: Specials are one of the biggest attractions to Foursquare, rewarding your customers for checking in to your venue. There are several types of specials:
- Friends specials – unlocked when a user is checked in with a certain number (set by you) of their friends on Foursquare
- Swarm specials – unlocked when a certain number (set by you) of Foursquare users have checked in to your location within a 3 hour period
- Flash specials – unlocked by a limited number (of your choice) of users on a first-come, first-served basis
- Newbie specials – unlocked only the first time a user checks into the location
- Check-in specials – unlocked every time the user checks in, based on specifications set by you
- Mayor specials – unlocked by the user who has checked in to your venue most frequently in the past 60 days (this user is known as the Mayor of your venue)
- Loyalty specials – similar to a punch card
- Merchant dashboard: Lets you view real-time data, including the total number of check-ins, most recent visitors, most frequent visitors, and how many check-ins were shared to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Foursquare Brand Platform
If your business is not a venue customers can check-in to, a brand page will better suit you. Creating a page is very simple. Just go to the brand platform page and click “Create a foursquare page” at the bottom. NOTE: It requires that you sign in with Twitter to create a page, so you need to have a Twitter account with your business’s name as the handle, since the handle will be the same. From there, you can add the header image, profile picture, description, and any links.
What you can do
- Brand pages: Create a customizable page for your brand with tips you leave for venues. You need to leave at least 5 tips at venues to be featured on the foursquare page gallery.
- Partner badges: On Foursquare, users are rewarded for check-in accomplishments with badges. While there is a fee and some stipulations attached, brands can create partner badges
- Add to foursquare: You can create embeddable Foursquare tips on your own website