Foursquare is one of the fastest growing social media sites right now, with more than 3,000,000 users already and climbing at a rate of nearly half a million users per month.
Foursquare is a location-based smart phone application that allows users to “check-in” at businesses ranging from restaurants and nightclubs to bed and breakfasts and dry cleaning services. Users can share short also tips and To Do lists with their friends, such as “try the vegan lasagna!” Users earn points and badges for check-ins and for completing certain tasks, and can compete for the position of “Mayor” at a particular location, which means they have more check-ins at that particular spot than anyone else.
Foursquare is not only fun for users, it’s also a great marketing tool for businesses. Foursquare allows business owners to “claim” their businesses and offers a robust selection of features to track the success of your Foursquare marketing efforts, including the most recent visitors, the most frequent visitors, the total number of unique visitors, the number of check-ins per day, and more.
To claim your business on Foursquare, do a search for your business and click the “Claim this” link at the top of the page, then follow the on-screen directions. If your business isn’t listed yet, you can add it.
How To Promote Your Green Business on Foursquare
Once your business is set up on Foursquare, it’s time to start promoting it! Here are some tips for using Foursquare to promote your green business:
Offer specials to regular and first time visitors. Offering specials to Foursquare users is a great idea for several reasons. First, it can be used to reward loyal customers or first-time visitors, increasing the chances that they’ll come back. Second, thanks to its geolocation capabilities, the Foursquare app can notify users who are in the same area as your business – maybe at a business across the road, or down the block – that you offer specials to Foursquare users, increasing the chance that they’ll stop by! the Foursquare app also notifies users what they have to do in order to unlock higher level specials. For example, if one of your customers has checked in eight times and you offer specials every tenth time a customer checks in, they’ll be told that they need to visit twice more before receiving the special offer.
Encourage healthy competition. Since the title of “Mayor” is awarded to users who check in most often at a certain location – patronizing your green business in the process – many businesses are now starting to offer special deals to Mayors via Foursquare, such as discounts on products or services, free drinks, and more.
Monitor To Do lists… and add your own. Foursquare users can create To Do lists for fellow users to suggest fun or interesting things to try at a particular location. It’s a great idea to monitor these lists, because they can suggest ways to improve your customer experience. For example, if users are being told to “check out the horrible bathrooms… if you dare”, it may be time to crack out the Windex and toilet brushes. You can also suggest your own To Dos, and this is an especially good opportunity for green businesses to raise awareness of their eco-friendly products or services. For example, “Try the house burger – it’s made from 100% grass-fed beef!”
Advertise your presence on Foursquare. Create posters or other advertising materials for your storefront encouraging customers to check in on Foursquare and highlighting some of the Foursquare specials you offer. This is a win-win situation both for your green business and for Foursquare, since it can both bring new users to Foursquare and increase your business’s presence on the site. You can also advertise your participation on Foursquare on your official website or green business blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, and more.
What If My Green Business Doesn’t Offer Local Services?
If your green business doesn’t have a physical location where users can check in, you can still use Foursquare to promote your business. A growing number of popular brands, including Zagat, Lucky Magazine, and even the Wall Street Journal are using Foursquare to build brand recognition by offering local tips in cities around the country and even the world. As a green business, you may be in an excellent position to gain a large following by offering green tips, such as the best eco-friendly dry cleaners, the best fair trade coffee shop, or the best place to tune up a Prius.