To those of you who don’t know, Foursquare is a social network, based on sharing location between friends and sharing reviews on places or shops to anyone else who visits this site. Some business’ are beginning to use this network, but many are not. If you are a business or just someone who is out and about, and are not on foursquare, you are missing out.
What is Foursquare?
As previously stated, Foursquare is a social network that revolves around location. Now the significance of this network is that it is mobile device based. This means that it is an app that is used specifically for when a user is out and about. The whole idea of the application is that when you go to a location, for example a restaurant, you check in. Checking in means that your saying to all of your friends that you are in this restaurant.
When your friends are close to you, they can see that you have checked into the restaurant, this feature was designed to make meet-ups between friends much easier. Also when you have checked into a location, you can see everyone else who is also there, this was created to help people become more social and so on. Plus you have the option to leave a tip about the place; in essence this is a review of where you have visited and is visible to other users who check into the area. When you check into somewhere, you earn points which go up on a leader board between you and your friends; this gives Foursquare users a somewhat gaming feel and just adds a bit more fun. Now if you are the person who has checked in the most at a specific location, you become the major, and everyone else who checks in there, will see that you are the major.
Benefits for Users’
Now you may be thinking, “What is the point of this? What do I get out of it?” Well, Foursquares’ original purpose was to make it more convenient for friends to meet up and provide more knowledge about locations to users. Foursqare definitely does this and it is one of the reasons people use it. Another great reason is that Foursquare offers discounts and special offers for different actions. For example if you check into a restaurant and leave a tip, then you get a free drink. So what is the point of being the mayor? Well the major is basically the most loyal customer. So being the most loyal customer deserves recognition, therefore, they receive the best discounts and the best special offers available.
The only problem with all of these special offers is that they are not everywhere; I would say as a statistic that only one fifth (in the UK) of locations are providing them. However I have heard Foursquare is very popular in the US.
There is an explore section, which is great for those who are exploring new areas but even for those who are in their own area. It shows destinations that are relatively close and orders them by popularity. It shows how many of your friends have been there and also places you have been. There is tabs where you can order the type of location, for example coffee, this will show you every coffee house that is in the area and it will show you reviews and tips and so on.
As explained earlier with the offers, you can go onto the explore tab and search for places that have an offer going on at the moment. I have found that the Ivory Peg is offering a special, exclusively to the mayor. This offer allows the mayor 20% off their food bill, and all they have to do is show the screen to a member of staff.
Benefits for a Business
These factors that have been discussed that benefit users’, can also highly benefit your business, the first thing you should do is go onto http://www.foursquare.comand search for your business. It is probably already on there since users can add locations, now a great thing is that Foursquare actually shows the amount of visits and the amount of unique visits that your business receives and there are a countless amount of analytics sites and programmes you can use to monitor this or understand your customers better. On the top left hand side you can claim your business. By claiming your business you have now opened up the opportunity of Foursquare, now all you need to do is utilize it.
As discussed, a huge point of Foursquare is the offers that are available, so provide an offer to anyone who checks in, or maybe when you check in three times you receive a prize. You are not at all limited with what you can offer, creativity is key and it is the one factor that will make you stand out from the crowd. I suggest encouraging your customers to leave tips and possibly take photos.
When your customers check in, they have the option to allow their friends on Facebook, and their Twitter followers know that they just checked in. If they update this check in, that means your business has just been exposed to a huge crowd and not only that, but this is on a positive note too. The best thing about this is that you are gaining this mass, targeted exposure and all you have to do is offer some form of reward. This will work out more cost effective and thus more beneficial, not only in the form of saving money, but also in the form of gaining a positive public profile.
Foursquare is highly beneficial for all that use it, I strongly recommend to become an active user, for both explorers and businesses. Foursquare is a free tool and is available to everyone with a smart phone, and for businesses, only internet access is needed to manage your location. This app is growing rapidly world-wide, and you are missing out on potential benefits and customers if you are not utilizing this opportunity.