Using Foursquare as a magnet for your customers

With more than a million users to market your services to, Foursquare immediately jumps out as a great medium to advertise your services. Foursquare is available on all major mobile operating systems all over the world. Unlike other social networking sites, it is location based, and serves a different niche of user needs.

What is Foursquare

Foursquare is a location based social networking service that, unlike Twitter and Facebook, does a lot more than help users find friends. It has a points system that rewards users every time they check in to businesses like hotels, nightclubs, etc. These businesses can choose to offer special discounts or offers to Foursquare users.

Why you can’t ignore it

Foursquare is being developed by the people behind Dodgeball, which was a similar service bought and later shut down by Google. Launched as recently as March 2009, it already has more than a million members, and growing by the day.

Whether you like Foursquare or not, users will be reviewing your business for the benefit of their Foursquare friends. Worse, users can tie up their Foursquare with their Twitter as well as Facebook accounts, which means that if they dislike your service, all their friends are going to hear it. If you choose to ignore it, chances are that negative reviews by users will ruin your business, at least the business you get from Foursquare business.

This means that there is no way to have a neutral outlook towards Foursquare. You can either choose to loathe it and risk losing customers, or embrace it and rake in the profits. The founders of Foursquare definitely hope that you profit from their venture, since that would be a win-win situation.

Where is it useful?

Foursquare is available world-wide. However, most of its users are in the United States. User base in UK is also expanding. So if you own a business in these places you’d do well to start using Foursquare.

How you can use it

Foursquare’s own business page does a good job of detailing how you can use the technology to promote your business. You can offer discounts in multiple ways to users and then choose to advertise these discounts.

Foursquare allows you to track the visitors who find your business using their app. This way you can find out how effective your campaign is.

Are the doomsday predictions correct?

Prediction: this will die a sad death.

– Sandro Pasquali on Techcrunch

Sandro is not alone in making this prediction. Many ‘experts’ feel Foursquare won’t last in the long run. We, however, feel it has all the necessary ingredients to not only succeed but also leave all other similar services eating its dust. The brains behind the service are no amateurs at the game. With so much hype around the service and users herding to the service, the user base is set to expand exponentially and eventually achieve the same status as Twitter and Facebook. Yet, it won’t be a direct threat to any of them. Rather, this social networking service will complement the already existing networking sites.

Unless you are content to be running a mom-and-pop shop down some street, we’d recommend optimizing your use of Foursquare to expand your business.