What is Foursquare?

I will never forget the 1st time I saw a tweet that read:

I’m at WaWa (Philadelphia, PA)

My first thought: “Why do I care that you are at WaWa?” Within days, I saw the same tweets over and over again. “I’m at Acme.” “I’m at ABC Laundromat.”  – Who cares? So, I decided to investigate.

Foursquare defines itself as: Members note their locations with a mobile phone and can find out where friends are. Foursquare is a fun, free app for your phone that makes the world easier to use.

Keep up with friends. Discover what’s nearby. Save money & unlock rewards.

What’s in it for you?


Initially, Foursquare was a site that users shouted out their favorite spots to friends, thereby promoting the businesses and alerting friends that they were “out and about” at in case they’d like to join. Users can also achieve points and badges for their check-ins, such as the “swarm badge” for checking in at a location where many other users have also checked in at the same time (i.e., baseball game, concert, etc). The badges and points create a form of game for users, however, they are of no practical value what so ever.

The good news: with the growth of the network, increasingly more businesses have jumped on the foursquare bandwagon to offer the more than 20 million users special deals. Head to your local mall, and check in. There will be a slew of local specials.

How does a business benefit from Foursquare?

Foursquare provides businesses the opportunity to reward consumers for checking in at their location. Such as “Check in and receive 10% off your total purchase.” Additionally, most users link their foursquare accounts to their Twitter and/or Facebook pages. When a user checks into a business, the check in and the business’ name is posted on Twitter and Facebook for others to see. This additional exposure is likely to lead to new customers over time as awareness spreads.

Another benefit to businesses is that they have exposure to all Foursquare users within the geographical area where their business is located. Foursquare is GPS based. When a user clicks “check in,” other local businesses show up in the option screen. Therefore, a user does not need to be physically at a business to see the business on their screen. Essentially, this is free advertising for the business. To maximize Foursquare exposure, a business should offer a check in special. When a user checks in to any local business there is a banner that reads “specials nearby.” Again free advertising of a promotion. The check in strategy is key!