Foursquare and Several Years Ago...

Yeah. That title is lame and obvious, but we just couldn’t help ourselves.  It was our day to channel Abe Lincoln.


So, last week we talked about how Twitter is a great tool to use to promote your contests and give-aways, stay in touch with your customers, etc., and this week we’ll explore how Foursquare can be used to drive traffic to your business literally right off the street.

Foursquare is a cell phone application that can be downloaded to a mobile device like an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Palm.  It’s then linked to Twitter and Facebook where users “check in” at various locations--restaurants, museums, hotels, retail shops, bars, etc. These check ins get published and broadcast to all the user’s followers on Facebook and Twitter. Foursquare is kind of a unique blend of social networking, status updates, business review and location-based gaming.  It’s a crazy thing, really.

Where Twitter is great for contests, give-aways, and connecting to the public, Foursquare shines brightest as an option to use for in-store promotions.

As customers are checking Foursquare in your area, a message will pop up to notify them if a business in their immediate vicinity is offering a promotion. Upon clicking, the customer will see whatever special you happen to be running at the moment. 

What makes Foursquare so exciting is that the customer is already within walking distance of your establishment when they learn about your promotion.  Now, someone who was not planning on stopping in is more likely to come visit because you have lured them with your tempting offer!  What’s more is these customers can share that information with their Facebook and Twitter followers.

As a business on Foursquare, you also have access to a dashboard to see how often people are checking into your place. You can even see who the “mayor” is!  The mayor is the customer with the most check ins within the last 60 days. You can now reward the mayor with a special offer.  Foursquare users know how this works, and are likely to check in to get rewards. This is great news for you as it drives customer traffic through your door for a chance at that mayoral honor!

When Foursquare users check into a business, they’re also encouraged to leave a tip for other users. If you offer an incentive, like a percentage off a total purchase price, it will encourage the Foursquare user to post a favorable tip to his or her followers.  The user can then show the cashier the tip he or she just posted as proof.  What’s so beautiful about this is that your customer just promoted your business for you, and all you had to do was take a couple ‘a bucks off the bill.  That’s pretty freakin’ sweet!

So, let’s say you’re running a bakery that sells fancy dog cookies.  Let’s say it’s called Ma & Pup's Biscuitry because we’re very clever at naming stuff.  And there’s a nice lady (tall, blondish) heading your way, little purse puppy in tow.  She’s boogieing down the street on her way to lunch with friends, but Foursquare notifies her that she’s almost at your store and BAM!  She gets an alert that if she stops in, she gets a free dog cookie and Voila!

Tall Blondish Lady appears before you to collect her cookie for Little Snookiekins, and because the cookies are so pretty, she decides to buy a few more for after his supper, too.  And little Snookiekins loves your cookies sooooo much that Tall Blondish Lady becomes the mayor of your store because she checks in every time he has a rumble in his tummy. And then she gets rewards from you to encourage this loyal behavior. And then all her friends do it too and you can see where this is going, can’t you?


Clearly, Foursquare has some definite advantages if your goal is to bring traffic into your place of business. By virtue of its popularity, it looks like this technology is here to stay.

If you choose any or all of the above options, you can create a very loyal and dedicated customer base and blow the competition out of the water or off the street or down the hallway, or…wherever!

With Foursquare, everybody wins! (Except your competition-- they're going home with thier tails between their legs because they didn't use Foursquare!)

PS: next week, we’ll get a little face time with Facebook!


  • Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:37pm reply

    hey, great article! i use foursquare all the time for exactly the reason you've mentioned--some savvy businesses give me deals for promoting my patronage.
    nice to see comments enabled on this blog too. will be back!

  • Wed, 04/06/2011 - 12:37pm reply

    Thanks for the feedback! We'll see you next week!

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