To many people’s surprise, check-in application Foursquare has been around since 2009 — practically a lifetime in Internet years. In that time, many businesses have successfully used Foursquare to increase awareness of their brands and drive customers to their storefronts.
Using a location-based service like Foursquare can reap rewards for your business too, especially when you include a sound marketing strategy in your execution. Here are four success stories that show how you can leverage the power of Foursquare for your business.
1. 110% Sales Increase and a Coveted Badge
In March of 2010, Milwaukee restaurateur Joe Sorge got 161 Foursquare members into his burger restaurant, AJ Bombers, at the same time. How did he do it? He enticed them with the highly coveted Foursquare Swarm Badge — a badge that’s only awarded if at least 50 Foursquare members check in to the same venue at the same time.
There were two successful outcomes. The first was that AJ Bombers more than doubled its typical Sunday sales. The second was that the Foursquare visitors got their Swarm Badges — a win-win situation for everyone concerned.
2. Lovin’ It: McDonald’s Adds 600,000 Fans
Popular fast-food chain McDonald’s came up with the idea to use randomly placed gift certificates to lure Foursquare members into its restaurants. Members were encouraged to visit and check in to multiple locations, as gift certificates were not available at all restaurants. Members had to check-in to see if there was a gift certificate available for each particular location.
McDonald’s saw its attendance jump 33% past the normal attendance rate for the day, and it saw more than 600,000 people Like and follow the brand on other social media sites. The kicker is that it only cost McDonald’s a total of $1,000 to implement and execute the promotion.
3. You Don’t Need a Location to Succeed
Some brands are services, not locations, but they can still succeed on Foursquare. In April of 2010, The History Channel launched its Foursquare page. When Foursquare members checked in to various historic sites around the world, interesting facts about those particular locations would pop up on their screens, courtesy of The History Channel.
The result? With the help of that clever Foursquare campaign, The History Channel was able to grow its social media network to over 214,000 followers — a huge success for a cable channel.
4. Generosity Can Go a Long Way
Tommy Up isn’t just the owner of some burger joint in Philadelphia, he’s now the owner of one of the most visited restaurants in the country. This is thanks in large measure to Philadelphia’s Foursquare community. In just under a year, Up’s restaurant PYT has received over 11,000 check-ins. How? He’s been using the power of free beer.
Mr. Up gives a free beer to anyone who checks in at his restaurant. Yes, the restaurant has given away over 11,000 free beers, but as Mr. Up explains: very few people just check in for the free beer and leave. Many stay and buy food. In this case, the expense of the Foursquare campaign has paid for itself many times over.
The Key to a Successful Foursquare Campaign
A successful Foursquare campaign doesn’t just happen overnight. One thing common among all of the Foursquare success stories mentioned above is that in each case, it took a great deal of effort to pull off the campaign.
Tommy Up’s massive check-in success was the result of over a year of sustained effort. The History Channel looked everywhere to find ways to appeal to its members who travel the globe. Use the successes of others to inspire you to create a successful Foursquare campaign of your own.
Do you know of a great Foursquare campaign? Tell us about it.
Paul Flanigan: Paul Flanigan is the mad scientist behind Experiate.net, where he writes about branding, marketing, social media, and consumer engagement. Paul has worked previously for companies like Best Buy and the San Diego Padres, and has consulted several companies on best practices for consumer engagement through digital and social media. You can find him tweeting @paulflanigan.