Foursquare, the location-based social game, recently announced that users can now check in anywhere in the world.  So how and why should your businesses take advantage?

If you’re unfamiliar with Foursquare, you can read about it HERE

Marketing using Foursquare is beneficial because although a small user base, they are loyal.  It also takes up almost no time, so the ROI can be high.  Foursquare marketing is most appropriate for brick and mortar businesses (people physically walk into your store to make purchases), but anyone can be taking advantage of Foursquare.  Here’s how:

1.   Add Your Business

If you’re located in a large city your business may have already have been listed.  If it’s not…simply add it to the network by clicking “Add This Place”.  You’ll need to fill out basic info like address and phone number.  Be sure to fill out and complete the entire form.  You’ll want to give users as much information as possible.   (If someone else has already added your business, make sure all of the information is correct and complete)

2.  Add Friends

Like any social network, you need people to communicate with.  Foursquare makes it easy to add your current contacts in your Gmail, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.  Although you should try all three avenues, the majority of your friends will come from Twitter followers because that will most likely be the highest % of folks using Foursquare.  Don’t be surprised if you only have a few friends, Foursquare is still in its infancy.  If you only have locations in one city, you may only want friends who live in that particular city.  A few people from outside your location may travel, but I recommend marketing to folks who can buy now.

3.  Get Active

Check in to your work each day.  This will let all of your friends know where you work, and also allows your business to remain fresh in their minds.  Along with checking in, add “Shouts” (profile updates) that are relevant to what’s going on.  Do you have events coming up?  Any promotions you’re pushing?

As you check in to your own workspace, make sure you check into other locations as well.  No one will appreciate it if you’re only on the network to only promote yourself.  Checking into other locations is also a great way to see what other businesses are doing and how their utilizing the network.

4.  Add Tips

On each location you check into, you’re allowed to add “tips”.  Be sure you add specials and promotions that are going on.  You can also add tips for ways to find easy parking around your business, website promotions, if you deliver, anything that you think users may find useful.

5.  Reward Those Who Check In

You should be rewarding Foursquare users who check into your business.  Sign up your business to advertise with Foursquare HERE.

Because you will be checking into your business each day, you’re likely to be the mayor fairly quickly.  So cater your promotions to anyone who checks in, not only being a mayor.


6.  Spread the Word

Link your Foursquare account to both your Twitter and Facebook accounts.  This will allow you to notify all 3 networks that you’re active on Foursquare, but also attach a “Shout” and let your networks know what specials you’re running.  Like any other social media marketing strategy, utilize all of your networks to spread the word.

7.  Outside The Box  / Events

As more Foursquare users begin to use the network in your city…get creative and have a little fun with it.  Announce specials that can only be seen in the “tips” portion of your profile.  Hold events for Foursquare users so they can all check in to your business.  Anything to show a little creativity.

Foursquare is in its infancy, and I am a proponent of not overwhelming yourself with network overload.  But these actions should take no more than 10 minutes to set up, and about 45 seconds to check in each day.  Because of the little time commitment, it is my opinion that the ROI is worth it.