Foursquare is one of the newer mobile phone technologies with over 8 million users as of April 2011.  Foursquare is an interesting technology as it provides an organization a way to get users to promote your business to their friends and ultimately providing the benefits of testimonials and references AND it has a built in loyalty program. It is also a technique to entice prospects who are located nearby to come to your organization, through offering them specials on their mobile phones.

What is Foursquare?

Wikopedia defines foursquare as ‘a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users ‘check-in’ at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application . Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”.’

Why is Foursquare Important?

Foursquare provides users the ability to link to their friends. When they ‘check in’ (registering that they are currently at a location), they can elect to notify their friends where they are, through posts on their Twitter and/or Facebook accounts. If the user has friends in the neighborhood, the friends know where they can go to meet.

Foursquare is providing a business with word of mouth marketing (tell friends where you are now) and testimonials (users go to places they like). The specials provide built in customer loyalty programs.

How are Foursquare Specials Used?

Foursquare provides an organization the ability to offer specials to users. Here are some of the options and the value they bring the business.

Friend’s Special

You set the minimum threshold for a group of friends you’d like to reward for visiting your business together, and the Special is only redeemed if that many friends check in (based on a user’s foursquare friends). The value of this special is as incentive and reward to groups of friends who come as a group to your business.

Swarm Special

You set a minimum threshold for a group of foursquare users you’d like to reward for visiting your business in the same 3-hour window, and the Special is only redeemed if that many people check in.  The value to the business of this special is to encourage large numbers of friends (and strangers) to gather at a location in the 3 hour period.

Flash Special

This Special runs out. It’s first-come, first-serve. After that, no more Specials for the day. This special is another encouragement for people to come to your location frequently and to check for specials.

Newbie Special

This special rewards users only on their first time ever visiting your venue. This special attracts people to come in for the first time. And as people try your business, they may be telling their friends as well.

Check In Special

These Specials are available to customers on every check-in, or based on whatever conditions you specify. You can use this to drive traffic to your location at ‘less busy’ times. You are effectively providing a coupon or special as customers check in but they may only be redeemable at specific times, dates or on certain products.

Mayor Special

The foursquare Mayor is the most frequent visitor to your venue over the past 60 days. This is a way to reward your best customer, while stoking competition for the prize. The value here is that you encourage users to check in, and notify their friends where they are.

Loyalty Specials

a. A loyalty card or punch card, allowing customers to redeem a Special every X times they visit.
b. A one-time reward, for coming X times in total.
c. Reward loyalty within a given time period: for X visits over the next Y days.

What to do to get started with Foursquare.

Visit the Foursquare site for business for a free user’s guide to get started.


Each of these ‘check in’s is effectively a form of testimonial or reference. As a by product of its specials and its social media communication, Foursquare enhances word of mouth endorsement. Add the loyalty components and Foursquare can really help improve an organization’s business and public perception of satisfied customers.

Are you using Foursquare? Is it working for you? Leave your comments below.


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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

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