Get Foursquare, Get Money (maybe)

Posted in Social Media by diptoe on July 2, 2010

Is your business on Foursquare? Because if it’s not it should be. Chances are it already is, but you just don’t know it yet. So what is Foursquare and why should you care?

1. What it is

Foursquare is a mobile application that let’s its users “check-in” to places they go to every day. Foursquare’s official description calls it a “…cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide, and a game…” Users can win points, badges, and mayorships for checking in to places they visit.

2. Why it should matter to you

Because you can potentially (1) get more customers and (2) make more money. This is somewhat dependent on the type of business you own. Here’s my experience.

I started using Foursquare 38 days ago. I wanted to track my experience with the game and see firsthand what the possible value could be. Results?

Over the past 38 days I’ve checked in 247 times, which means I now check in or visit about 6.5 places per day. I’ve visited 58 different venues, 46 of which were new. Before this, I didn’t get out much. I usually did maybe three places a day max: Home, work, groceries 1x/wk., gas 2x/wk. and church 1x/wk.

Also during the past 38 days I’ve spent $63.79 at ten different venues as a direct result of Foursquare. That’s almost $6.38 per venue (or $1.68 per day) of my income earned with my own blood, sweat, and tears (and I don’t like parting with it easily), that someone else now has. And $50.13 of that was spent in the past 14 days (I’ve really started to get into this).

That is $63.79 I would not have spent otherwise, and it does not include indirect costs – gas for driving from place to place, time for going out of my way to get a special check-in, or money that I probably would have spent anyway. And I’ve influenced or indirectly influenced 6 other people to start playing the game too. And now they’re going places they wouldn’t have gone, and spending money they wouldn’t have spent.

Point: Foursquare is addictive, it gets people going to new places, and it gets them spending money they wouldn’t have spent otherwise.

3. So how do you benefit?

You want more money? Give people a reason to check in to your business.

For example, offer the mayor a free “something.” The mayor is the person that checks into your business the most days out of the last 60. You could have a dozen people fighting it out to become mayor. The more days they check in, the more likely they’ll spend money. And all it cost you was a free drink/sandwich/whatever.

Or, offer your customers a discount or special if they check in on Foursquare. This option is great for new or first-time visitors. They probably aren’t sold enough on your business yet to spend the next 60 days trying to become mayor. So give them a reason to visit you in the meantime.

4. How to get started

Go to http://foursquare.com/businesses/ to claim your venue. Their system is great because your special offer will get broadcast to anyone that checks in within a certain distance of your location. Users get a check-in message like, “Welcome to Burger King! Since you’re so close to Wendy’s, Foursquare would like to let you know that Wendy’s is offering a free Frosty today!” Would YOU stay at Burger King after getting a message like that?

As a warning, Foursquare does not accept all businesses. You can get around this by becoming a Foursquare user and adding tips. For more info on how you can get started use the sources listed below.

5. More info

By the way, I’d love it if you would share your Foursquare experiences in the comments. Share what you like about it, hate about it, if you’ve used it for your business, etc.

DISCLAIMER: Individual results may vary. I am not affiliated with Foursquare or any of the organizations or persons linked above. I just really like Foursquare. And I want more of you to start giving me free stuff when I come visit you.

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