For those of your who have incorporated Social Media and/or SOI (sphere of influence) building into your 2010 business plan, Foursquare can be an integral part of establishing, building and strengthening your presence and participation in your local community. Foursquare is a geo-social online and mobile application where members (it’s free to join) check-in when they go places about town. Once checked-in, they can see who else has been there, who goes there most often (top visitors are awarded the “Mayor” title for that location) or possibly get discounts and coupons. On a geo-social front, it’s a fun, easy way to communicate with others in your community. There is a competitive side to Foursquare as well as people try to oust each other for mayorships or gain more badges and points.
For geo-social geeks like me, this can just be fun in and of itself, but for business minded people, you can take the fun and build on it to expand your outreach and conversation with other members in your local community.
Foursquare just announced January 6, 2010 that it now allows check-ins anywhere, not just select “big” markets as it had up until now. This is huge and will open up the fun and games in all cities, large and small. The fun and usefulness of Foursquare can only be maximized when many members are checking in, so it is a great time to help build a Foursquare-using community right in your own back-yard.
Top 10 Ways to Build Your Business in 2010 with Foursquare:
- Twitter and Foursquare go hand-in-hand (Foursquare can push check-in into to Twitter and the users request) so why not set up a search in Twitter for Foursquare check-ins in your community and then either follow the people on Foursquare and/or Twitter or comment on Twitter right while they are there with a tip or suggestion for that location “Hey, saw you checked in a Coco Loco’s Coffee Shack – Love the Coconut Chai there”
- As you roam your own community and check-in, people on Twitter will see you in the community (via Foursquare and Twitter, or even Facebook (see below) and might follow you, friend you on Foursquare or comment as well (plus, since Twitter is indexed from time to time, more opportunity to have your name and your community linked)
- If you have a favorite haunt or location, and you see others checking in there as well, this gives you another great connection point to chat about (ie books, sports, steak, etc.) with your new friends. We all love to connect with those who share our same interests.
- If you have a large or unique area (botanical garden, historic downtown, etc.) you could create a Flickr group for that location and use Fourquare to find members of that group.
- If Foursquare is new to your area, create a video or other tutorial on how fun it is and how to use it and blog about it to help create the momentum in your community as Foursquare grows. Be the trend-setter helping people join the trend.
- If you see a location being checked-into often or a person rising in the local stats, blog about them (with permission) and have a weekly or monthly Foursquare Highlight Post(s). People and businesses love to see their name in lights.
- Create a google map of local check-ins and locations and in the location description, add a link back to the Foursquare page for that location (even better if you are the Mayor 😉 Here is an example of a map I created for coffee spots in Coral Gables, FL, if you click on the icon, you will see the Foursquare link in there.
- Host a local Foursquare competition. Either have a scavenger hunt where the teams score for the first check-ins on the hunt or have a “Who Can Oust the Mayor, Win the Most Points, or Add the Most Locations” contest. People love games and they love to be featured.
- Host a Foursquare Meetup at a location that might give special bonuses or incentives to Fourquare users. Another great way to blog about your community and engage with the people around you.
- Foursquare can also push to Facebook, so if you like, you can activate this option and help share Foursquare with your Facebook friends as well as your check-ins, etc.
Bonus: For the tech-geeks, there are several APIs available, including an WordPress plug-in and a REALLY cool Heat Map you can use to further your use and reach of Foursquare.
Soooo, if you were wondering how you can use geo-social applications for business and for fun, Foursquare can be just the ticket. If you were not using Foursquare before because it was not available in your city, it is now, so have fun!
If you have a fun story or use for Foursquare, I’d love to hear about it!