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Creative Ways for Small Business to Use Foursquare

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Foursquare is a location-based sharing application for your smartphone with a lot of fun ways to draw in new customers for your small business.

fourquare logo Creative Ways for Small Business to Use FoursquareFoursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. Users “check in” to venues using our GPS-enabled mobile apps to tell their friends where they are, get helpful info about the places they visit and unlock “Specials” based on their behavior.

If your business has a physical location, you should click over to and register. Do a search for the name of your business first, one of your customers may have already put it in the system. If so, on the right-hand side of the screen is a link for you to claim the business as the manager. Follow the instructions for claiming the venue.

When you are done Foursquare will mail you a window cling that you can put on your door or window to let your customers know that you are a Foursquare participating venue. But don’t stop there! You can get creative with more calls to action inside your business and through some staff training.

First, sign in to your Foursquare account and go to your venue.

Attract new customers

Click on “Manager Tools”, in the top-right corner, then “Start a Campaign at this Venue” (the big green button). On the next screen click the green button again to create your special. There are an assortment of choices, and this is where you can get creative:

  • Like, “If 30 people check in at once, get 25 cent wings”
  • Like, “Check in with 3 friends and get a free dessert”
  • Like, “The first 10 people that check in after 8pm get 25% off their order”
  • Like, “Get a free cupcake on your first check-in”
  • Like, “Get a free appetizer when you check in”

Reward existing customers

  • Like, “Get a free cookie every 3rd check-in”
  • Like, “Mayor gets 20% off their entire bill”

Here are some more sample ideas:

Use the “Print Flyers” feature for your employees so that they can become familiar with the Specials, and what the smartphone screen should look like when a customer “unlocks” the special for redemption. You employees should be encouraged to spread the word about your Foursquare presence in their interactions with your customers. You can also print flyers to display for the customers, though they are not specific to the promotion that you are running. You will want to create your own.

Add the Specials to your collateral. Whether it is a restaurant menu, a brochure, or an ad on a map or in a newspaper (yes, newspaper advertising still works for small business in small towns) you should tell your customers that you are on Foursquare, at the very least. If you plan to have some long-term Specials, for Mayors or for Loyalty campaigns, you can keep these with your usual ad copy.

Cross-promotion on Twitter and Facebook. Share your “Attract New Customers” Specials on your other social media channels, especially if you can encourage people to share them with their friends. This can work particularly well with the Friends or Flash specials.

Hide “Easter Eggs” in your products or billing statements. Print out a mini-flyer describing your Foursquare specials and hide them inside books, packaging, or include them with correspondence to your customers. Remind them that when they visit your store they are eligible for special rewards when they Check In on Foursquare.

Introduce your customers to each other. Add a “Recent Foursquare Check-ins” feature to your e-mail newsletter (you do have a newsletter, don’t you?). On your “Manager Tools” page there is a list of Top and Most Recent Check-ins that you can copy-and-paste right into your newsletter – with links to those users’ profiles! (You will have to do a little editing…) Encourage your readers to connect with each other, and remember that you should be connecting with your customers as well.

There are many other ways that you can promote your business on Foursquare, share your thoughts in the Comments.

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About the author: Stephen Smith teaches Productivity and Social Media Literacy skills at In Context MultiMedia. He will be publishing a compilation of best practices based on his popular Weekly Letterin May 2012.

You can follow him on Twitter at @hdbbstephen.

 Creative Ways for Small Business to Use Foursquare

Leave a Comment



  1. Todd Jordan says:

    Great post.
    Glad Stephen dropped by and shared.

    Takeaways: newsletter and invest more than 5 mins with social tools.


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