The Next Social Media Craze: Foursquare

You’ve mastered Facebook and Twitter and now you’re probably hearing buzz around the newest trend in social media, Foursquare. In August of 2010, there were three million people worldwide using Foursquare. Learning a new language to any social media network can be overwhelming, so we’ve broken down what Foursquare is all about.


  • Checking-in simply tells Foursquare where you are.
  • The title of “Mayor” is Foursquare’s fun way of noting that you’ve checked in to a business or place more than anyone else.
  • Badges and Points are fun additions to your profile, and are earned thorough interesting check-ins.
  • Tips are impressions and recommendations from others’ experiences at a particular location. To-do’s are reminders for yourself for the next time you visit a location.
  • Call 614-885-7921 to learn more about how we can help your company get involved in the rapidly growing social media scene.

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a location-based social network that allows you to “check-in” at various establishments locally, or throughout the world. It’s essentially a game that is a unique combination of a social network and a city-guide. By using Foursquare and “checking-in” at your favorite places, the network integrates incentives for customer loyalty while providing a forum for sharing experiences and recommendations for places you’ve visited.

Checking in

Foursquare uses GPS technology through a smart phone application (or SMS on a mobile device) to detect your location and allow you to “check-in” at any public destination around the globe. Checking-in enables you to participate by updating your social network with your location, which is shared with those you connect with on Foursquare. You can also check-in “off-the-grid,” which allows you to share your location with Foursquare without broadcasting your location to your network of friends.

The Mayor

You’re probably thinking, “Why would anyone care where I am?” Unless you’re taking a summer road-trip across the country, you’re probably right. But check-ins can lead to benefits as a consumer. For example, if you routinely visit Starbucks everyday for your morning coffee, checking-in at each visit can lead to crowning you “The Mayor” of that Starbucks location. The title of “Mayor” is simply Foursquare’s fun way of noting that you’ve checked-in to a business or place more than anyone else. This honor can lead to winning deals or discounts as businesses experiment with Foursquare. For example, over the summer, Starbucks experimented with a Foursquare loyalty program. For those who earned Mayor status, Starbucks rewarded the newly crowned Mayors with a deal on Frappuccinos. Recently, a few Columbus, OH coffee houses and restaurants started providing free or discounted food or drink deals for Foursquare users who check-in a certain number of times. In theory, as more businesses implement incentives, the quest to become Mayor could increase the interest or brand loyalty among customers. Location-based services can provide an opportunity for businesses to establish customer loyalty and incentive programs.


Badges are rewards for checking-in at locations a certain number of times. These badges are added to your profile and have no direct benefit for consumers. They do, however, add fun, interesting titles that are usually good for a laugh. The entire culture of Foursquare is very lighthearted.


Because the concept of Foursquare is essentially a game to earn “Mayorships” of locations and collect interesting badges for unique locations, points are earned for your first check-in at specific locations or by adding a new place to Foursquare listings.

Tips and To-Do’s

“Tips” is a valuable feature of Foursquare that allows users to share their experience, comments or recommendations after visiting a location. This is especially beneficial for businesses to get direct feedback from customers as well as to monitor referrals between satisfied customers. “To-Do’s” are private notes-to-self reminding you of something to try next time you revisit the location. A list of “tips” is generated in the Foursquare application for all surrounding locations, and may be a useful tool in helping choose where to go to lunch, for example.

How Your Business Can Experiment with Foursquare.

Along with viewing direct customer feedback, business owners can also benefit from using Foursquare to engage with loyal, mobile customers, by offering specials. Through in-store promotions, customers will become active in frequenting and checking-in at the location. A helpful feature offered by Foursquare are real-time location statistics to track and monitor trends with customers using Foursquare. By using Foursquare, you’ll be able to track your most loyal customers, reward them for visiting, and obtain their feedback on your company.

While Foursquare is still relatively new, interest is rapidly growing with nearly 1 million check-ins everyday. Not only that, but location-based marketing is growing in popularity as businesses are harnessing the power of social media. Recently, Facebook joined the movement and introduced Facebook Places which allows Facebook users to connect with their friends by sharing their location.

Location-based services and social media prove to be an informative method of research by allowing you to listen to your customers, track your loyal customers and gain new leads.