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I’ll let you into a secret, Im hooked on something, nothing dark or illegal but something that if used in the right way can have advantages in your business. In these days of ‘gamefication’ I have managed to stay away from ‘candy crush’ and other latter day sonic the hedgehog stuff but I cant get enough of 4Square! Its really quite addictive in nature and plays on users competitive edge to tell people where they are and collect virtual points in the process – collect enough points and you become Mayor. I recently received a 20% discount at a restaurant because I was the mayor there! I started to investigate how this could be used in other contexts.

Mark_019gravatarFoursquare allows individuals from anywhere in the world to openly engage with their friends so they know exactly where they are and what they are doing. Users of Foursquare simply “Check-In” on their Smartphone , iPhone, Blackberry, Android or a variety of other smart mobile devices.

For marketers Foursquare offers a unique and compelling opportunity to use geo-location based services to promote their brands in real-time. Businesses and organizations are learning the benefits of social media campaigns that include Foursquare, here are some reasons to use Foursquare for your business:

1. It’s a Hyper Social Platform

The typical Foursquare user is one of the most desirable demographics, they tend to be young (or young at heart!), educated and employed. They are heavy users of online social media platforms and are actively engaging friends and acquaintances with the businesses they’re interacting with. This demographic is highly mobile, have money to spend and most importantly is very influential. They want to be seen out and usually use Foursquare updates as rallying points for the rest of their social circles.

2. Consumers Love it

Consumers are heavily engaged in Foursquare because of its ability to take what may be a simple trip and turn the notification process into a game. By checking into a location you earn points that are constantly being added and compared to their networks. The competitive nature of Foursquare allows users to earn badges for checking-into certain locations, multiple pubs in one night, the first person to check-in to a new location- all of which may earn you special recognition in the form of a badge. Finally users have the ability to create check-in locations such as their homes with custom names so their friends know exactly where they want to be seen.

4sq3. Free Advertising

Free Foursquare Advertising? Just by listing your business, brand or venue on Foursquare for free you automatically open yourself to hundreds, thousands or potentially millions of users. When users check-into a location or hunt for a venue there’s a good chance they may find your brand or location. That impression leads to awareness, the opportunity for some type of engagement and by the very least an opportunity to add credibility by being associated with one of the fastest growing social media tools.

4. Generate Buzz with Foursquare Coupons

Coupons have a word of mouth appeal, and for restaurants with one or a few locations offer a hyper local way to advertise. What’s better, the coupon is initiated by the consumer, so there is no overhead in printing, distribution or redemptions that complicate the experience.

5. Get found on Foursquare

Many brands and business locations don’t know that Foursquare users use the tool to find local businesses. Instead of using Google maps, users turn to Foursquare’s powerful geo-location based service to search for businesses, browse local establishments and determine what’s close to them. And because Foursquare is almost exclusively used on Smartphone, you know those are individuals are interacting with your brand locally.

6. Let Foursquare tips and reviews help your buzz

Foursquare allows its members to leave tips for other members when they sign in to a location. Users typically leave tips on what to purchase or experience often times with a sense of purpose or humour. The brand experience becomes more personalized when a customer can instantly connect with a pervious user and make an immediate emotional connection based on recommendations they find appealing.

shop logo7. Use Foursquare in Inductions

For large companies, universities and organizations, Foursquare is being used as a way to introduce individuals to useful resources and areas. For example Colleges and Universities are currently using Foursquare to introduce students to the campus. Many companies are also using Foursquare as a visibility tool to allow other employees know where and what they are doing.

8. Use Foursquare’s Automated Tools

Businesses are benefiting from Foursquare by utilizing its automatic auto check-in and messaging features. Whether it’s a coupon, promotion or a special event, your brand or venue can benefit by automating messages targeted at this hyper social demographic. The ability to drive additional customer engagement on a Smartphone can compliment staff and resources that might otherwise be occupied.

9. Engage With Your Foursquare Users

Beyond coupons or messages, brands can drive customer engagement by interacting with users live while they are at a particular location. The options include real-time games, questionnaires or sharing additional information on an event or location on a more personalized level.

10. Data Mine Foursquare Demographics

speciFoursquare collects as much data from its visitors as Google and Microsoft, but how can your organization benefit from this massive amount of information? Fortunately Foursquare offers both Venue owners and Brands unique tools to attract new customers and help people stay engaged no matter where they are in the world. Foursquare offers a Venue Stats Dashboard that helps companies mine and tailor campaigns to maximize your business offerings. The Venue Stats dashboard, allowing you to track your customer foot traffic over time.

So Foursquare is much more than a points collecting game! -if you would like to know more on how this can boost your Social Media campaigns and strategies just message me for a chat, or if you’re passing check-in at Marknorthall.com – yes we are on 4square!