May the Fours(quare) be with you.

Are you using Foursquare? We all love “checking in” to places because it’s a fast, easy way to alert friends and family of what we’re up to, whether it’s shopping at a trendy outlet, ordering drinks at a dive, or attending a concert. Essentially, it’s a way to shout out to the world how popular and social we are. “Be jealous,” we might as well say, “because we’re here and you’re not!” Actually, though, Foursquare is more than that. When used correctly, Foursquare can allow your business to unleash a powerful strategy that requires minimal work on your part. As customers “check in” to a location, they have to option to share it with Foursquare friends, Facebook friends, or Twitter followers. This results in an extremely valuable promotion of your business. Foursquare allows the business manager (you) to customize the way your business is displayed on the app. By logging in and clicking on the “edit” button on your business listing, you can personalize your phone number, address, Twitter handle, URL, and even details that any potential or current customer would want to know- such as hours of service, the house special, or a particular promotion. Another fantastic aspect of Foursquare is the use of Specials. By announcing a particular incentive for checking into your location, your business can reel in new customers effortlessly. Specials might consist of discounted purchases (20% off your hair cut with a first-time check in!), freebies (check in to receive free chips and salsa!), loyalty rewards (your first drink’s on us when you check in for the third time), and more. The Specials feature allows you to showcase your personality while offering a great incentive to current and potential customers. It only takes a few minutes to set up Specials. Immediately following, your business will display an orange graphic (symbolizing the Special) in the search results. A Special can be the single deciding factor of whether a customer chooses your business or another. Foursquare also provides your business with valuable insight to who your consumers are. Through enabling the Merchant Dashboard, you’ll be able to identify crucial information, such as who checks in, how often, the age and gender of your customers, and your most popular hours. This awareness will allow you to adapt your business accordingly and provide potential for growth in your weaker areas. Finally, Foursquare enables consumers to leave “tips,” for others. As a business owner, it’s important for you to be aware of what is being said here. We call this Reputation Management because it requires action on your part to monitor the activity. Whether the tips are negative or positive, you can use them to improve the customer’s experience. For example, if a tip is, “Ew, the bathrooms are gross!” then perhaps you should immediately give your attention to the facilities. Hopefully you’ll yield better tips, like “incredible beer selection!” This type of positive response will shed light on what your customers enjoy most about your company, thus allowing you to incorporate that as a unique selling point in the future. Will Foursquare be around forever? We don’t know the answer to that. What we do know is that it currently has over 100,000 regular users. It’s free for businesses to use. And it generates valuable promotion, new business, and trendy interaction with customers.