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Foursquare for your business?

Are you the mayor of your favourite restaurant, coffee shop or building? With Foursquare, you could be. This location-based social networking site and game for mobile devices is currently sweeping media-land in the same way that Twitter did early last year. The site, which cleverly rewards users for ‘checking in’ by granting them special status such as being the ‘mayor’ of any premises they check into the most, is now adding 15,000 users a day, according to founder Dennis Crowley.

But as Foursquare transforms into a major player on the social landscape, what we all want to know is, how can businesses make the most of it?

How Foursquare can work for a business

Foursquare is an example of social media being integrated into the real world and, as such, it can be a great tool for real-life businesses. The competitive elements, such as awards and a leaderboard, make Foursquare fun for users.

The location element allows people to tell if their friends are nearby, but crucially for venue owners to send out promotional messages if they are in the vicinity. And while users are enjoying playing the game, businesses can take the information provided by the game to identify and reward brand loyalists, and to conduct vital customer research.

Examples of businesses making the most of Foursquare

There are already a number of case studies showing how businesses are using Foursquare to their advantage, most famously including Starbucks and their mayoral discounts.

Face of Stupid

Diesel has integrated Foursquare promotions into its ‘Faces of Stupid’ campaign. Diesel store visitors can pick up stickers which say ‘BE STUPID’, stick them onto themselves and send the picture to the Diesel website, along with a ‘stupid story’. By doing so the contestants have a chance to win exotic prizes, like swimming with sharks in South Africa.

And Diesel decided to integrate Foursquare into the mix, using their flagship New York store as a test. Foursquare users within a three-city block radius of the Union Square location were shown the promotion which was happening at the store and, once they checked into the store itself, were given a specially printed t-shirt in purple or red.

During the event, Diesel reported a total of 44 check-ins, 17 tweets and 20,957 aggregate Twitter users reached from those social updates. Altogether, an interesting study in harnessing the real potential of Foursquare – in this case being bringing potential customers into the store who may not have otherwise entered, as well as creating a certain amount of buzz online.

Time for your business to check in

So the message to businesses? Obviously, having a high street presence is a major plus if you want to compete in the world of Foursquare. If you do, now’s the time to get involved and get promoting. If not, there may still be ways to use Foursquare for your business, but you might have to be a little more inventive. But as long as you can really focus on improving customer experience using the site, you’re likely to find it an increasingly profitable tool.

 

Corinne 11:29

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