Some would say that Foursquare has blasted into the scene of location based social networking applications with a vengeance. I would tend to agree with that sentiment. The best way to describe the service is to actually use the source. From the Foursquare site:

People use foursquare to “check-in”, which is a way of telling us your whereabouts. When you check-in someplace, we’ll tell your friends where they can find you and recommend places to go & things to do nearby. People check-in at all kind of places – cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices.

You’ll find that as your friends use foursquare to check-in, you’ll start learning more about the places they frequent. Not only is it a great way to meet up with nearby friends, but you’ll also start to learn about their favorite spots and the new places they discover.

I will be completely honest with you (side note: I love that saying because it is a funny thing to say… just so you know… I will always be completely honest with you) I have not realized the full potential of Foursquare personally but I have seen it being used across a multitude of different users… from power users to newbies.

What I strive to accomplish while writing this blog is to give the reader practical uses of emerging digital technology and ideas to use them effectively. So let’s get this party started!

1. Encourage Foursquare Users to Check in and Post Reviews about Your Location

Foursquare allows a user to view where their friends have been within 3 hours of a certain update. This could have huge potential for a hotel chain. David Fleet mentioned in his blog post, Foursquare’s Potential for Hyper Local Marketing, the advantages of using Foursquare to check where your friends have stayed (the night) in a given location. A hotel, sauna, or day spa could encourage Foursquare users to check into a given location and put brief thoughts about the service in their tip updated.

Example : Give users of Foursquare a discount on their tab for a favorable tip update. (This could also be applied to any social network)

2. Use the Points Structure of Foursquare to Support a Local Charity

Users will gain points when they accomplish certain activities like checking in, making multiple stops in a day, adding a new venue, making a repeat visit, or consecutively checking into a certain location. Encourage users to rack up the points and put a value to the points they are accruing (Ex: $0.04 per point). At the end of the promotion donate the amount of money to a charity. This encourages visits to your business and gives back to those who need our help!

3. Use the “Mayor” Status as a Perk – You Become an Authority Figure

The user that checks in the most at a certain location will gain the notoriety of becoming “mayor” of that location. I have actually witnessed people fight over becoming mayor. If you offered special perks to the mayor of your location (ie: name on a board, gift certificate for the month, free beverage, or maybe a puppy!) it will encourage Foursquare users to visit your location more often.

4. Utilize the To-Do List to Give Users Tasks to Complete – Scott Hepburn

Each business has the potential of creating a to do list for Foursquare users. If you visit a Foursquare page for a business (Click here for an example) you will find a button to create a to-do list. This could be utilized as a contest for people visiting the location. You could offer perks much like the user became a mayor of your location.

Example : Give a to-do list of what the location wants to improve upon in terms of service. Allow users to help improve those services by viewing the to-do list and adding tips for improvement.

5. Encourage Users to Become Superusers of Your Location

When a user becomes a SUPERUSER at your location they have the ability to edit venue information. Some of you may be skeptical and hesitant at giving users the ability to edit YOUR data… but let’s be honest… it isn’t really YOUR data anymore is it? It is easier to have users edit your location information because they are actually using the tool and experiencing your company in a completely different way. Also, this help for annoying bad data that could be spread through different users.

Foursquare is an infant compared to social media titans like Myspace, Facebook, and Twitter… the important thing to remember is that it is growing and people are using it.

Is your business getting reviewed on social applications? You would be surprised…

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