Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that allows you to “check-in” with a smartphone app or SMS. You are able to share your check-in with friends, earn “badges” or become the “Mayor” of locations, and earn pointsÂ with this virtual game.
What do you mean I can be the “Mayor” or I get a “badge” when I check-in?
The thing with Foursquare is that in it’s totality, it’s a game.
You may receive the “Swarm” badge if 50 or more people have checked in with you at a location. You may get the “Player, please!” badge if you’ve checked in with 3 or more people of the opposite sex. Don’t forget the “Super User” badge if you’ve checked in to more than 30 places in one month.
The badges, for the most part, don’t really give you a lot perks other than bragging rights with your Foursquare friends.
However, the Mayorships do sometimes provide rewards. A Mayor is the user with the most number of days with check-ins at a specific place within the past 60 days.
Once you are the Mayor, you can be bumped by another user. Maybe someone who doesn’t think you’re doing a great job in office. But truthfully, it’s someone who then has more check-ins now than you do at that establishment.
Several businesses offer perks to their Mayor. Starbucks and Buffalo Wild Wings to name a few. You can receive them without even hitting the campaign trail.
From a business standpoint, it’s smart to offer perks to a Mayor. They realize you have to check-in more than one time to then receive a perk. It builds loyalty and keeps someone coming back.
Who is using Foursquare?
If you’re not, you should be. There are over 250,000 businesses using the merchant platform and Foursquare has over 8 million users worldwide.
How to use Foursquare?
After installing the app and registering online at foursquare.com, you are then able to start checking in at locations.
When you reach your destination, open the app and click on “check-in.” The service will figure out where you are and give you a list of possible options. If you prefer to not wait for the list, simply type theÂ establishments name in the “search places” box.
If you do not see the location on the list, you can easily add it yourselfÂ and then proceed to check-in.
You will then have 140 characters to give a little bit of detail about whereÂ you are checking in. I highly suggest using this option. If you are atÂ Chipotle – tell us what you’re going to order or why you go there. PromoteÂ why you are visiting this location.
You also have the option to push this check-in through to various socialÂ media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook.
If you don’t fill out the 140 characters and you push it through to TwitterÂ or Facebook, it will simply say “I’m at ________” and give the URL.
Once you’re checked in, you will have the ability to see what otherÂ Foursquare users are there and if there are any specials at that location.
For example, a Mexican restaurant that I visit with friends after schoolÂ offers a buy 1, get the 2nd Margarita for $1 if you check-in.
Simply show your server or sales associate the screen on your phone andÂ start receiving these rewards.
Why use Foursquare?
*For the gamer in you* – My husband and I have a little competition atÂ several locations where we’re trying to beat the other one out forÂ Mayorships. We’re always racing to see who is the first to check-in.
*For the perks* – Through checking in, I’ve paid $1 for margaritas. I’veÂ received free chips & salsa. I’ve received 30% off a pair of shoes at SteveÂ Madden. Look at the perks. There’s typically always something in your area.
*For the companies that are listening* – As we all know from using socialÂ media, there are a lot of brands that do listen. I’ve had big companies and
small companies both talk to me after checking in at their location,Â thanking me for visiting. When I send out my media kit to a potential brand,
I add this to my list of social media strategies that I can provide for themÂ in our partnership.
What about safety?
What if you don’t want someone seeing where you’re at all the time? Can you stillÂ participate?
The answer is yes. When you check-in, you have the ability toÂ say whether that check-in is shared with your Foursquare friends and if itÂ is pushed through to Twitter and Facebook.
You can have private check-ins that only you will see which allows youÂ to still capitalize on the perks that Foursquare offers.
For more on Foursquare, be sure to visit foursquare.com. Let the gamesÂ begin!