Foursquare has helped make mobile check-ins a trendy way to connect with your friends, family, and businesses over the past few years. While the company continues to evolve and pivot in different directions, there is no doubting that when done correctly, foursquare can help you grow your brand and business.
By setting up and maintaining a page for your company/business, you have the ability to drive stronger loyalty and creating ambassadors for your brand. Here are six tips (and a few additional thoughts) to help you build engagement via foursquare.
#1 – Fill in your profile completely
Let’s start things off on a simple note. Get the basics right and fill in as much as you can on your profile page. Upload images that represent your brand/company, connect your foursquare page to other social media platforms, and fill in your location and business hours (where applicable). A final option for your profile is to create an ‘Event’ for others to check into. This is the simplest way to get your name out there quickly and asking others to check into special events on the calendar.
Before moving ahead too quickly, you should also take a look at the ‘Advanced Tools’ options under the Edit Profile tab on foursquare. You will want to choose the category in which your business resides so that you have a better chance of showing up in search. If your business is part of a chain, you can connect it under this tab.
#2 – Create and promote deals for checking in
If you are going to use foursquare as part of your digital strategy, please plan to give back to others that are taking the time to check-in to your page/business. They can be extremely small and/or simple:
- Check-in and receive $5 off your bill
- Share your check-in on Twitter/Facebook and get 5-10% off your total bill
- For every 5 check-ins receive a free XXX
This gives foursquare users something to come back for. I am pleasantly surprised when I check in at a bar/restaurant and see any type of deal or promotion (because not enough places are taking advantage of this). We were in North Carolina and a restaurant gave away a free appetizer simply for checking in and we couldn’t have shared that quickly enough with friends and our respective networks.
On the promotional end, don’t just create the special and expect everyone to jump on board without any work from your end. Promote your deal on other social networks – particularly Facebook and Twitter, which seamlessly work with foursquare. Put a banner or sign in your store window. At the same time, make sure you announce it on foursquare itself! (It is surprising how few actually do this – see the screenshot below to realize how easy it is.)
#3 – Create a special for your ‘Mayor’
In case you aren’t aware of what a ‘Mayor’ is on foursquare, it is the person that has checked into a location the most over the past 60 days. These are obviously people/consumers that are coming back to your business and promoting it with their network. That sounds a lot like a loyalty program, no? It also sounds a lot like an ambassador for business, no? Do … something … special for them.
Just make sure that whatever deal you consider, it is greater than one for a regular check-in (a greater percentage off a bill, a free giveaway for every check-in while the mayor, etc.)
#4 – Check the foursquare blog
Foursquare does a nice job of putting together summaries, recommendations, and updates to any changes that are taking place on the network. Bookmark their blog or put it into your RSS feed to ensure you stay up to date with the latest and greatest innovations, ideas, etc.
There is a perfect example right now on foursquare that you will want to keep an eye out for. Advertising on foursquare launched yesterday – how can you leverage this into your digital marketing plan to build awareness of your business?
#5 – Use foursquare’s Analytics
As always, the more you know about your customer / fan base, the better. Foursquare has their own, free analytics tools to help you better understand who is checking into your listing. Track your performance over time to better understand how different events or promotions are performing. Learn from those trends over time and adapt/adjust accordingly.
#6 – Learn from others
There are several brands that have created highly engaging content on foursquare:
- History Channel – Provides fun-facts about various locations around major cities
- McCormick Grill Mates ran a great campaign back in 2011 to promote their products
- While retired, the Starbucks badges helped drive brand loyalty by having users check in at different locations
Beyond these ‘big brands’, it also makes sense to keep track of what your specific competitors may be doing to promote their businesses on foursquare (if anything) and make the appropriate decisions from there. That isn’t to say replicate or one-up them, but to think strategically about how you can build stronger engagement with your fan base in order to keep driving loyalty.
There are two items that are worth mentioning but not included in the recommendations above. First is the creation of a foursquare badge. This was one of the bigger selling points for the network in its early stages but has gone by the wayside. You would have to request the creation of ‘Partner Badge’ through foursquare and go through the appropriate steps. However, Dennis Crowley (Founder of the network) has openly suggested that they are trying to move away from this arena.
The second is far more advanced and is for those that may be interested in creating an app through foursquare’s API. For more information on creating an app through their platform, click here.
Those are six tips and a few additional thoughts for leveraging foursquare for your brand. Have any of these features been of particular benefit for your brand/company? What other tips would you recommend to readers?