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Getting The Most Out of Checking In: Foursquare For Your Business

We all have those friends, the ones who only use social media to tell us where they are, what they had for lunch, or what book they are currently reading while sitting on their porch enjoying the weather. These mundane and often pointless updates that seem to plague our internet activity leave many of us wondering, "What's the point?" But what if there was a way to provide these people, who feel inclined to update everyone on their every move, an outlet to do so and a convenient way for you to use this information? Well now there is, and it's called Foursquare.
As many of you probably know, Foursquare is an application that allows people to check in and share where they are. Seems pretty boring, right? Well, there is actually a lot more to Foursquare than that. When used to its full potential it can increase a company's revenue, introduce targeted marketing, and even allow businesses to get up-close and personal with customers, all at no cost to your company.

The easiest way for business to use Foursquare is by creating a special. If you're a business owner, you can go to Foursquare, claim your venue location and start setting up offers to drive customers and sales. Yes, this is as simple as it sounds. To claim your venue, you simply log in to Foursquare, verify you are a manager or owner of your business, and claim your location. Once that's done, you're ready to start. 

If you want to use Foursquare to its full potential, it is a good idea to start by deciding what you want to result from your specials. Are you looking to drive the sales of a particular item, bring in new customers, increase your overall sales, or all of the above? Once you've decided on this, you can get started. 

There are four main types of Foursquare specials that have already proven to be successful. First, there is the discount special. You can offer your customers special discounts after checking in, such as 15% off any purchase over $50. This encourages customers to spend more money and thus drives your overall sales. The second option is offering something for free. For example, one free drink with the purchase of any appetizer, this provides the potential to increase your sales of appetizers. Third, you can offer special treatment to your Foursquare users, like exclusive menu items for customers that check in. Therefore, people will be more likely to check in and share their location with their friends. Lastly, there is the frequent user special. This works by providing a deal to customers for checking in to your location multiple times, its like a traditional punchcard but on your mobile phone. Foursquare automatically tracks the number of times individual users check in to your location, therefore, you can provide discounts to customers on say, their 10th visit to your business or restaurant. Also, you never have to worry about your special getting overlooked because Foursquare can alert customers of specials when they are nearby and will send your company a Foursquare window cling to place outside of your business so people remember to check in. 

Foursquare even offers ways to track the success of your specials. You can use the Merchant Dashboard, a system that shows you the number of check ins your company receives, who your most recent and frequent customers are, the gender breakdown of your customers, the time of day your customers check in, and the social media reach of your check ins, i.e. who shared their Foursquare check in over multiple platforms such as Facebook or Twitter. If that's not enough, when people check in to different locations they are also able to post reviews, encouraging more of their friends to visit your business. You can even create to-do lists that prompt certain activities and remind people of the different offers available. 

As you can see, Foursquare has a lot to offer your business. Who would have thought so much could come from providing those constant social media updaters with a productive outlet to share their location and activities? Hats off to the creators of Foursquare for giving me a reason to suddenly care that my college roommate is eating at the restaurant down the street!

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