Over the past two years Foursquare has been growing at an incredible pace and at the beginning of this year it reached over 6 million users. It is an amazing addition to the world of social media allowing consumers to share with their friends via Facebook or Foursquare what they like to do, where they like to go, where they like to eat or where they like to shop. For both businesses and consumers it’s like a live version of yelp, only instead of writing a review about the place or business, you simply check in; showing all your friends that you are there. What’s better, reading a review from weeks ago by someone you don’t even know, or seeing that your friend just checked in to a new restaurant? Which one is more likely to make you check it out? If you’re still not convinced, you can see how many of your other friends have checked into the same place, and how many times; if your friends go there all the time it must be good, right? This is an ingenious way of recommending and referring places and businesses to people, it’s instant and very effective.
But this awesome power of showing your friends where you’ve checked in is even more helpful to local businesses. It gives businesses a new and free channel for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. When customers check in to your business, all their friends on foursquare and Facebook can see it, basically they are saying “hey I like this place”, and when they see a user checking in to your business often, they are saying “hey I love this place you should check it out”. Eventually some of their friends will see all those checkins and pay a visit to your business, they in turn will check in and then all their friends will see it. It is like a giant word of mouth marketing campaign that involves no money and little time investment.
In order to retain all these new customers you’re getting from word of mouth in the form of checkins, businesses are able to set up badges, which are awards for checking in a certain number of times. These badges can be turned into promotions or discounts for your loyal customers to keep them coming back. Badges make it fun for the users while giving them incentive to return. At each place or business the user with the most checkins is deemed the mayor of that location!
The bottom line is that this is an incredible tool for promoting your business and keeping in touch with your customer base. It’s free to use and takes hardly any time to set up so every brick and mortar business should have a foursquare!
Here’s the tutorial for setting up and using foursquare for your local business: