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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yesterday Facebook announced Facebook Places which begs the question should I stop using Foursquare and start using Facebook Places, should I ignore Facebook Places and continue to use Foursquare-- what's a business owner to do?

Interestingly enough, most businesses don't even know what Foursquare is, let alone how to use it to grow their business.

Many of my business coaching clients are using Foursquare today because I strongly encourage them to (After all it's my job as a coach to look out for my clients) .

Foursquare is a great tool for your business. If you're not using it you should. In order to start using this tool you need to claim your business on their site. By claiming your business you can edit the type of business it is, add more information, and start creating specials for people to use in as they check into your business. The more times someone checks in, the better their rewards can get. You set up the specials you would like and the amount of times that someone needs to check in before being awarded.

Here are some ins and outs of Foursquare setups:

  • You can only have ONE special live on people's phone at one time.

  • When someone unlocks the special, they will have a special message on their phone they can show to you (the business) and get their reward/special that you have setup on the Foursquare site.

  • You can create multiple specials for your business.

  • Specials can be award related - i.e., for the mayor.

  • They can happen once after a particular number - i.e., after 5, check-ins.

  • They can be sequenced - i.e., every three check-ins.

  • The can be crunched up - i.e., three check-ins in four days.

Examples of Badges that I think you can create in-house rewards for:

  • Mayor- When you have checked in more times than anyone else. Example, you can reward someone for being the mayor by letting them cut the line. You can also solve the issue of your employee being the mayor in Four Square as well.

  • Swarm - You can also use the following badge and reward your customers when there are 50 check-ins during the same time period. Check in to a place where 50+ other foursquare users are currently checked in. And yes, if you are number 49, you get the badge when number 50 checks in.

  • Player Please - Check in to a place that has three members of the opposite sex currently checked in. They must be your friends.

As a business coach I educate my clients to not waste their phone specials on badges like mayor. After all you as the business owner can easily see who the mayor is. By creating an in-house reward that you tell your clients about, you create an opportunity to educate them about Foursquare and build brand loyalty.

Four square is a engaging tool that rewards users for their check ins and definitely gets people competing for the badges. It's a powerful tool for your business (if used skillfully) because you can reward your frequent customers to get the word out about your business. Four square posts can link peoples' check-ins to their Facebook page, Twitter therefore, creating free advertising for your business.

What do you think of Foursquare as a business tool? Essential? or just another internet waste of time?