How to Use Foursquare for Small and Local BusinessLocation-based social network Foursquare recently surpassed 10 million users, and those users are checking in more than 3 million times a day. That’s why every business owner needs to know the basics behind promoting a business or brand on the network.

If you’re a small business owner, it’s likely that people are checking in to your business every day even if you’re not aware of it. It begs the question: what key customer information are you missing out on?

Foursquare services are free and come with more than just a place to list your brick and mortar locations. Once you’ve claimed your business you can attract new customers and retain your existing loyal base with specials. Foursquare even offers statistics that will help you adapt to the evolving social consumer.

Sign Up and Claim Your Business

Claim Your Business on FoursquareSocial media marketing works best when you can create a dialog between you and your customers. So the sooner you get your business set up on Foursquare, the sooner you can participate in the conversation.

If your business is already listed on Foursquare — anyone can list a business — you’ll need an account to claim and edit your listing. If your business isn’t already on Foursquare, you’ll first need an account to list it.

In other words, to effectively use Foursquare you’ll need to create an account, then list and/or claim your business. Fortunately, we have an article for that: How to List Your Business on Foursquare.

Create a Special

Foursquare Specials

Research has shown that many users follow businesses on social media, and check-in applications in particular, in order to find deals on the products and services they buy. Foursquare offers a range of Specials designed to attract those customers, reward them for checking in, and maintain their loyalty to your brand.

Refer to our related article How to Create Foursquare Specials for details on the types and benefits of Foursquare Specials that are available.

How Foursquare Users Find and Redeem Your Specials

How Foursquare Users Find and Redeem Your Specials

There are few ways your existing and potential customers can discover your specials. First of all, when someone has the Foursquare application open to check in to a venue, chances are he or she will start by clicking on the large “Check In” button in the main navigation. This will automatically provide a list of nearby locations on Foursquare. An orange “Special” icon below the business name indicates that the venue has a current Foursquare Special.

Once someone has found your location in the list of nearby places, he or she will have to click on the business name in order to check in. If you’ve got a special set up for your business, there will be a large orange “Special Here” button at the top right of the venue page. The Foursquare member can click the orange button and see the details of your Foursquare Special.

Foursquare Specials mobileFinally, potential customers can specifically seek out specials by navigating to the “Explore” button in the Foursquare application. Once on the Explore page, people can sort by the type of business as well as by specials that are nearby.

Once you’ve got your specials in place and working on the Foursquare platform, you’re going to get customers unlocking them and wanting to redeem the benefits. Your unlocked special on your venue page will be grey, and it will have a locked icon at the bottom of the page. If the special has been properly unlocked, the icon will change to appear unlocked and the special page will have a bright offer banner at the top of the page.

Monitor Customer Activity

Monitor Customer Activity on Foursquare

While claiming your venue opens up many possibilities for giving out customer incentives, it also unlocks free monitoring tools for your business on Foursquare. Venue statistics offer real-time data on:

  • Total daily check-ins
  • Most recent visitors
  • Most frequent visitors
  • Gender of your customers
  • What time of day people check in
  • What portion of check-ins are also broadcast to Twitter and Facebook

These venue stats can serve as valuable tools to inform adjustments to your specials to better serve your customers.

Now that you know more about the features available for business on Foursquare, are you likely to claim your business and start experimenting with the platform? Or, if you’ve already been experimenting with Foursquare, we’d love to hear about the results.

[Image credits: zizzybaloobah, Tom@There, teamstickergiant, Snodgrass, etringita]