Using Foursquare For Business: A Primer

Geo-location apps are still hot, and the proof is in the pudding . . . or the advertising dollars, if you will. Today, Foursquare rolled out a promoted updates pilot that allows business owners to get their messages, photos, tips, and more in front of more mobile eyeballs. Living inside the Explore tab and working similarly in nature to Twitter's promoted Tweets, businesses can pay to be seen in the stream of Foursquare users, even if they aren't following the brand directly. Experimenting with Promoted Updates is a great way to get extra foot traffic in your doors, but there are other ways to use Foursquare for your small biz that won't cost you any advertising dollars. If you know what Foursquare is, but don't know how to leverage it's local power, I present a primer on getting to know how to incorporate Foursquare into your business.
  • Business Pages — Getting your business on Foursquare is step one. Once you have established and/or claimed your venue, you can start offering specials to get foot traffic through your doors.
  • Specials — Specials can include discounts for checking in, deals for the mayor of your business, or "flash specials" that are on for a limited time, or available for a limited number of check ins. Specials encourage customers to keep coming back to cash in on the savings, and hopefully earn the crown of mayor. Foursquare has a simple and easy to follow tutorial on how to get started.
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  • Brand Pages — If you don't have a physical location, you can still make an impact by using Foursquare. Brands like The New York Times, Bravo, and The History Channel have done a great job of utilizing their pages Tip feaature to engage fans while they're out exploring.
  • With a brand page, you can upload tips — go here, see that, eat this — that are tied to locations for your followers to discover. When one of your followers checks in nearby, your tip will pop up on their screen. While the process of creating a brand page is still in the hands of the Foursquare team at this point (you have to fill out an application), soon you'll have the ability to DIY your own page.
  • Badges — Both venues and brands have the ability to request custom partner badges that your customers and followers can unlock after a set number of check ins. Foursquare has some criteria for you to follow — it should be relevant to lots of followers, and should get people excited to earn your badge — but creating a great badge could be a fantastic way to get people excited about your business.

How are you incorporating Foursquare into your business?