Foursquare is a geo-location application that lets the user “check-in” to locations and letting his or her friends know where the user is. These geo-location services have been around for a while now and I never really saw myself using it, I didn’t think that I went to any interesting places. That was until my girlfriend and I went on a cross country road trip from the little town of Red Hook, New York, to San Francisco, California. I suggested that this was the perfect time to try out this popular app and see what it was all about. I heard they gave out badges and was excited to see if they would give us a badge for going coast to coast.We signed up on the internet fairly easily and we downloaded the mobile app on our Blackberries and we were off!
Quick Tour of Foursquare Basic Features
First stop was Washington DC. “Checking in” to places was very easy. It was a matter of selecting the “Check-in” button and viola! I tied my Foursquare check-ins with my Twitter, so that whenever I “checked-in” anywhere, a tweet would be made. The Tweet consisted of the name of the location, its address, and a shortened link so that your followers can click on the venue and its Foursquare profile would show up. But that was just the plain ol’ “check-in” for Foursquare. Users have the option to write a short message with their “check-ins.” Twitter users will like this because they can put a hashtag on their “check-ins” along with a message. I used this to put the hashtag #ccrt10, which was the hashtag for our road trip. Anything we tweeted about or “checked-in” on Foursquare had this hashtag so we can view all of our activity on one Twitter page. Warning, our hashtag has since expired and no longer appears on Twitter when it is clicked or searched. Here is one of m first “check-ins” in Washington :
Happy for an hour of happy hour #ccrt10 (@ Art and Soul w/ @whyting) http://4sq.com/8KoLro
For Business Use
Businesses can take advantage of Foursquare as well. They can go online, find their venue, and submit to Twitter a proof that they are the owners of the venue. This can be a Yelp url with contact information. Folks at Twitter will then contact you to make sure that everything checks out and you can start offering incentives for Foursquare folks.
Here are some things that businesses can offer:
• Mayorships – give a free gift to the current Mayor of our venue. If you are a restaurant or bar give out food or drinks, or if you are retail, give out a small item. Free gifts keep customers loyal.
• Check-ins – Give goodies to those who have checked-in to your venue a certain amount of times.
• Numbered Check-ins – Every certain numbered check-in is awarded. For example, “Foursquare users get a free Martini ever 10th check-in”
• Badges – Offer something free if someone has a certain Badge. There are about 196 Badges in existence that Foursquare users can unlock.
Foursquare will provide you with real-time metrics to analyze and keep track of everyone who checks-in at your venue. Lastly, Foursquare users do not have to be at your venue to know about your incentives. Foursquare will notify users of “Deals Nereby” on their check-in page.