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I admit it. When Twitter first came out, I didn't get it. I even wrote a blog post called, "I'm a Twitter Twit." But I am not letting the same thing happen with Foursquare. Foursquare isn't for every business, but if you want people to show up at your location, you ought to check out how Foursquare works. It might work for you.

If you didn't know, Foursquare is a social networking game you play from your phone, allowing you to "check in" to share your current location with others. The simplest form of the game rewards the player who checks in the most time in the last 60 days by naming him the "mayor" of that location.

What's the point? There's no point, really. It's just fun.

But smart local marketers have already taken advantage of Fourquare. Bars buy free drinks for anyone who becomes the new mayor. Some stores offer a discount for anyone who checks in. Others provide coupons that folks who check in can share with their friends, possibly drawing them to the location, too.

Now, some businesses can benefit more than others. I'm not sure that anyone cares about being the mayor of the Mendelsohn Insurance Agency. Somehow, checking in from a bar or a restaurant or a cute boutique seems a lot cooler. And if you sell online or over the phone, checking in ain't something your customers will do.

But if you have a business built on repeat visits to your location, and on word of mouth passed among friends, Foursquare might be just what the doctor ordered.

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May 24, 2010

Mike is an expert in search marketing, search technology, social media, publishing, text analytics, and web metrics, who regularly makes speaking appearances.

Mike's previous appearances include Text Analytics World, Rutgers Business School, SEMRush webinar, ClickZ Live.

Mike also founded and writes for Biznology, is the co-author of Outside-In Marketing (with James Mathewson) and the best-selling Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (now in its 3rd edition, and sole author of Do It Wrong Quickly, named by the Miami Herald as one of the 11 best business books of 2007.


Foursquare is also great for building relationships with customers, not limited to only offering mayoral discounts. For example, a friend of mine purchased a coffee from a local coffeeshop that he had checked into, and upon going to the cashier, the barista wished him a good day by name (never having met before). If other organizations continue to do this, it will bring customer relationships to a new level.

Great idea, Diane. I'd love to hear from others using Foursquare in innovative ways.

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Search Engine Guide > Mike Moran > Foursquare in favor of location-based marketing