What’s the deal with Foursquare?

Posted: August 16th, 2011

You’ve probably heard of Foursquare or seen a sticker encouraging you to Check-In at your local coffee shop. While some may write-off Foursquare as another social media platform to keep track of, Foursquare has been quietly picking up momentum to the tune of 10 million subscribers. Then yesterday, Foursquare got it’s biggest endorsement yet as President Barrack Obama announced the White House’s official use of Foursquare.

So what is Foursquare? Foursquare creates personalized experiences among friends using location-based technologies within mobile smartphones. The entire goal of Foursquare is to share tips, insights, and deals from the businesses and areas you interact with on a daily basis.

Checking-In on your mobile phone unlocks the tips left by your friends and others for that particular business or area. I could Check-In to my favorite deli and leave a Tip for a particular sandwich that isn’t on the menu, or when running a trail in Stanley Park I could leave a tip for a particular place to get that perfect scenic view. When friends or others check-in to those locations, my tips are automatically displayed to them. My friends can even add these tips to a To-Do List to create their own mini adventures based on my experiences.

Recently, Foursquare launched support for Businesses, called Foursquare Pages. This is where Foursquare becomes really valuable for DMO’s and their members. Pages enables a business or organization to brand the Page to their own graphical feel and display Lists of places that they recommend. So if you decided to follow the Think! Social Media Foursquare Page you would see our List of places around Yaletown we love to go for lunch. Additionally you can see the tips we’ve left at all the locations around the world.

Foursquare Pages are a natural fit for member-based organizations who want to promote the members of their region. The trick is to make your Page appealing so visitors will want to follow it. We suggest providing tips, insights, and deals that only Foursquare users can experience. Luxury hotelier Ritz-Carlton took some of the knowledge from their esteemed Concierges and made them tips on their Foursquare Pages of each property. Their motivation? Take the renown insight of their Concierges and make it accessible to people who love the Ritz-Carlton brand online.

Encouraging members to offer small freebies to customers for checking-in on Foursquare is a great way to build some momentum. A cupcake shop offered an extra shot of icing if customers showed an employee a check-in on their mobile phone. Small items such as an “extra shot of espresso” work best.

Marketing material stating that your business is on Foursquare is a helpful way to remind people to check-in (as they’re thinking about what kind of sandwich they want). A small stand-up at the checkout counter goes a long way. I was buying groceries recently and the display showing my purchase had a graphic stating “Check-in to Foursquare and ask for a free apple.” Smart and simple.

Want a Free Foursquare Window Sticker for your business? Just verify your businesses location on Foursquare and they’ll mail you one. Or, to get Foursquare’s logo to use in your marketing material, visit this link and choose Buttons and Logo’s.

Have you used Foursquare in an innovative way already? We’d love to hear your story in the comments section below.