Location-sharing social networks have steadily been gaining traction in the social media world, and Foursquare is currently leading the way in overall popularity and name recognition due to its ease of use and slick integration. Mashable even wrote back in July that FourSquare could be the next Twitter.
The premise is quite simple. Install the application on your mobile phone (applications are now available for iPhones, Blackberries, and Android Phones) or browse to their mobile site and “check in” whenever you visit a new venue. Not only do you receive points and badges for checking in and reaching certain milestones (as well as blast a message on Facebook and Twitter alerting your friends and followers as to your whereabouts), but if you visit a particular location often enough, you could be crowned as Mayor.
Many bars, restaurants, and cafes have started to offer discounts and free offers to loyal patrons who prove their mayorship, including free appetizers or a drink on the house. This sort of friendly competition, while of course a lot of fun, can also be extremely beneficial for a business’s overall exposure.
Foursquare could potentially serve as a source of valuable traffic data for your business, as it logs not only how many times customers have visited your venue, but also the frequency of their visits. In addition, customers can leave comments or suggestions when they check in, allowing business owners access to invaluable feedback in much the same way Yelp does.
In the future, Foursquare intends on implementing a more detailed dashboard view for participating venues to make it easier to keep track of who’s visiting, how often, where they’re coming from, and where they’re going next.