Written by: Angie Haggstrom | January 18, 2010
With the addition and rising popularity of Foursquare.com in the social scene, businesses have entered yet another new world of marketing. In this virtual community, customers aren’t just talking about your business, they’re using it. They can become the mayor, meet their friends, and find the best locations to eat, sleep, drink, and be merry.
The Ups and Downs of Foursquare
This online community/’game’ could easily create a strong customer base for businesses that choose to embrace the concept. As Foursquare recommends on its website, businesses can encourage participation in the community and visits by offering small incentives such as a discount, a free product, or even just advertising the person’s name in store.
Unfortunately, businesses also need to keep in mind that these types of things could also make a huge problem for businesses that don’t put their customers first. If someone has a bad experience, for example, you could potentially lose far more via online word of mouth advertising than ever before.
Tying Foursquare Together With Other Marketing Efforts
Foursquare has the potential to drive a fair bit of interest, particularly in major centers where lots of people are using the system. To get the most benefit from this attention, businesses really need to funnel this attention towards their other marketing platforms as well. This is easily done, and the benefits could be substantial if done correctly.
When someone uses the community to let everyone know they liked a meal from your restaurant, for example, give them a code or special link in store that they can use elsewhere on the web. This could be either for another social network, or for a complimentary business site. For example, if you become a fan on Facebook and message us with this code, you’ll get $20 off your next purchase.
Taking It Beyond Foursquare
Of course, businesses don’t have to use Foursquare to incorporate similar concepts into their marketing plans. Contests can be set up where customers can Tweet you or leave a message on your blog or Facebook page when they’re going to visit. They could leave a receipt number, a secret word, or even just give you a few sentences about their visit. Then, when others find your website, Facebook, or search for you on Twitter/Google, they’ll find this great information.
The secret to this type of network marketing is simple: creativity. Don’t be afraid to do something new and stand out. Even if the concept is a little crazy, the reward will be worth it. Besides, who doesn’t like to have fun once in awhile?