Foursquare is a social networking site built around using your mobile devices to check into locations you visit and connect with friends. Users are often rewarded with discounts and achievements called badges. Foursquare joins Foursquare and Brightkite in the arena of location-based social networks, and combined, they have more than 2 million users worldwide.
- Offering discounts: You can give a small discount to users who check in and show their mobile device. It can be an everyday discount or on certain days.
- Using a virtual reward card: The Foursquare application keeps track of how many times someone has checked into your business. It rewards frequent customers without requiring a reward card for you to punch or them to keep track of and on them.
- Offering first “X” customers special: Offer a special promotion to the first ten customers to check-in during the day.
- Giving the Mayor the VIP treatment: In Foursquare, if someone checks into a venue more than twice, he or she becomes mayor. It is very competitive because mayors can be ousted if someone else checks in more times. People take this seriously and will work to get their position back. As a business owner, you can give them a reward such as free drinks or Wi-Fi since there is only one mayor at a time. Isn’t that a great way to make your customer feel special?
- Treating newbies: Reward first-time customers who check in with a freebie. This will give you a chance to convert a new customer into a loyal customer.
- Attracting nearby specials: Foursquare has a “specials nearby” function that allows you to alert users to specials at your location nearby when they check-in somewhere else. This exposes your business to customers who may not know about you.
- Planning an event: Plan an event around the “swarm” badge, which means having more than 50 people check-in to a venue at the same time. Use social media to get the word out and it draws upon people’s sense of fun. Everyone wants to be a part of something.
- Don’t check-in at home, someone else’s home, or other personal places such as your child’s school. Foursquare and other sites use GPS tagging to show your location.
- Check-in at your location closer to when you are leaving so you still can earn rewards and badges.
UPDATE 27 April 2010 — I recently came across a new location-based social network launched in January 2010, Foursquare Tools for Business, which aims to be a loyalty “punch card” for local businesses. They are creating a rewards crowdsourcing platform where users can suggest deals or offers they would like to receive from businesses they regularly visit. It isn’t a game just completely a social experience. The functionality is very user-friendly for both consumers and businesses.