How Businesses Are Using Foursquare To Promote Themselves

Aug 19, 2010

Foursquare is more than just a simple check in service, it can be leveraged by businesses to promote their brand and connect with consumers.

Foursquare Marketing Campaigns

Don’t knock Foursquare as just your regular check in service, businesses are already using it to promote themselves; by having users check in to them.

Starbucks, one of the biggest Foursquare promoters created a special campaign just for its loyal customers. The coffee chain instituted a special that gave users who checked in to five different Starbucks a Barista badge. The badge gave Foursquare users access to promotions other customers couldn’t take advantage but the offers varied between locations.

However, the campaign fell flat on its face. While the coffee titan created the campaign on a company wide basis, not many outlets were informed of the offer or even what the Barista badge meant on Foursquare. This left Foursquare users looking at a dumb founded manager when they requested an offer that could only be unlocked by the badge. This shows poor management on Starbucks’ part on what could have been a great social media opportunity.

Foursquare Promotions & Deals

But there have been brands that have successfully used Foursquare to create some awesome marketing campaigns such as lifestyle brand Diesel. The company launched one of the most elaborate social media marketing campaigns the fashion industry has seen; “Be Stupid.” The Ad was combined with a special one day event at Diesel’s flagship New York store as part of the company’s experimental organic social media campaign. During the one day event, users who checked in to Foursquare within a three-city block radius were alerted a promotion available directly from the store. When those users checked in to the store, they were treated to special printed tees; a great marketing tool for Diesel considering four people within the first hour of the campaign took advantage of the Foursquare offer and dozens more walked in.

Foursquare Business Tools

If your business is interested in using Foursquare to generate buzz without generating a marketing plan from an ad agency, the company has tools you can leverage. Their services for business allow them to create specials for Mayors (those who check in the most to a venue in the past two months), multiple checkin specials (which Starbucks implemented, albeit on an unsuccessful scale), frequency based specials and wildcard specials which require staff to see you’ve met certain conditions to receive an offer i.e. “show us your swarm badge and you’ll get a discount on this product.”

If you do implement Foursquare specials for your businesses, remember some basic etiquette. If you add tips to your venue, avoid making them sound spammy. The purpose of tips for a venue is to turn on new users to what’s hot or any deals. Even more important is alerting your staff to Foursquare specials. If Starbucks has taught us anything, you can’t rely on word of mouth for your employees to automatically know about the latest and greatest in social media offers. Make a graphic to detail what each badge means and what special is associated with it. Chances are a lot of your customers will show you their badges on Foursquare’s mobile App or website automatically matching up a badge with its corresponding offer is critical to good customer service.

Are you already using Foursquare to promote your brand or business? Let me know what tips or practices you’d recommend.