Those who follow me on Twitter and Facebook know I’ve joined and am quite active on Foursquare. You saw me join and go hyper checking in everywhere possible, and unfortunately for you sharing those check-ins on Facebook and Twitter every time. You’re also made aware every time I become the Mayor of some place or when I unlock a badge.
How does this serve a merchant or company?
There are many ways in which it would.
First off, listing your locations with exact address, phone number, zip/postal code and Twitter makes it easy for users to find you and contact you if need be. This first application is similar to extremely localised Yellow Page listings, but with user comments and tips (a few square blocs at most). Join up (doesn’t mean you have to play), search if the location exists, if not create it (add a new venue). Every time a user checks in at your place, they’re advertising you to their network of friends – not just on Foursquare, but more often and not also on Facebook and Twitter which can be considerable. Bear in mind that Foursquare users are advanced social media users which probably have very large networks.
More and more we find Mayor Specials – you as the business owner can easily set this up. For example, CloudRaker (an interactive ad agency in Montreal at 435 rue St-Alexandre #700 offers a free beer on your first check in in their offices. On their page (on Foursquare), you can see that Camille D. is Mayor, has been visited 116 times by 10 different persons. The W de Montréal (the Hotel) offers a Mayor special every first Wednesday of the month. The Mayor will receive a « WOW Gift ». You have to ask for Claudia at the front desk (indicated on their page). Rudy Dupuis is Mayor. The W was visited 215 times by 70 different persons.
On a merchant’s page you’ll find tips from the various users that have visited in the establishment. On the W’s page, there are over 12 user tips ranging from the beauty of the decor to where to get free WiFi in the hotel.
I recommend those companies interested in using Foursquare to gift someone’s first check in, or every X check-ins, or their first check-ins of the month – on top of Mayor specials. Next time I’ll discuss the competition aspect of Foursquare and how the Mayor special will probably only create 1 (or 3-4 contenders) loyal while alienating all others who are not as regular and will be discouraged.
What are badges?
I won’t publish them all here as they’ve been identified elsewhere more completely by Foo C. in Philadelphia on his blog. Edelman, a PR agency, also compiled a fairly complete list with tips on how to get them.
I had 13 when I wrote this in French last week and was then working on getting 4 more. I think the check-ins counted to earn badges are counted only 1 per day.
Also, I attended a conference and expected to gain the Swarm badge: check in with 50 people. During the conference, we were 46 at the event location, which someone also created the “event” as a location and there were 30 checked in there. We tried to get them to check in with us be never made it past 46…, oh well, next time.
Check out my profile on Foursquare to see my stats, badges and mayorships.