Ok, so you have come over to my way of thinking about Foursquare and you are ready to jump in with both feet. So now what do you do? Read on…
1. First of all, you need to be a Foursquare user. You don’t need to be trying to do anything with your business in there till you see what this is all about. So download the Foursquare app to your smartphone, create a free account, and start checking in! You have to understand how the whole thing works before you can start to promote your business in there. And don’t quit using it either… ‘friend’ people in there. Everyone in town. This helps to spread the Foursquare love around and encourages others to use it. The more people that use it, the more potential people who can ‘check in’ to your business.
2. Make sure you find your business in the app. If you don’t see it, then you can create it right there in the app. Make sure that you put all relevant information… phone, street address, description, category, etc. If you see multiple listings for your business then you’ll need to take care of that by getting rid of duplicates. You do that by ‘claiming’ your business… read on…
3. Once your business is listed in there, go to www.foursquare.com/business to ‘claim’ your business. You’ll have to go through a process to claim in, which will include proving that you are indeed the owner of the business. Once you do that, you’ll be able to manage your Foursquare listing. You’ll also be able to notify Foursquare about duplicate listings so they can remove them. And yes, you’ll have to do this often because people are generally lazy and if they don’t see your business inside the app when they open it up, some will be tempted to just create a new listing instead of looking for the official listing.
4. Once you have claimed your listing, Foursquare will send you a window cling for your front door. Put that up so that anyone walking in will know you are on Foursquare. While you are at it, put up a sign at the cash register, on your signage in the store, on your receipts, etc. Promote, promote, promote!
5. Look at your statistics of who is checking in and how often. Get a feel for the days/times when most people are checking into your location in Foursquare. Do you know them? Thank them for checking in when you see them. Also keep a watch out for when people check into your store to see if those people are actually in your store. Yes, there are cheaters out there. And yes, that seems sort of junior highish. What can I say, it happens.
6. Don’t check into your own location every day. If you do, you’ll probably end up being the mayor. And don’t let your employees do it either. You want someone else in your community to be the mayor.
7. Create a Mayor Special. And don’t make it stupid… like 10% off every 5th purchase. That’s just lame. Make it good. Make it something that someone would actually want. Do you own a restaurant? Give the mayor a free meal once a week. Coffee shop? Give them free coffee as long as they are mayor… totally free.
8. Create a Loyalty Special. Again, make it good. I hate it when one of the companies I have supported with my money for years offers fantastic deals to new customers but I get nothing, ever. You want me to be an evangelist for you? Treat me better. Reward loyalty. The best advertising is free word of mouth, right? Make loyal customers even more loyal. They will talk about it. Trust me.
9. Every once in awhile offer one of the other specials… Swarm, Friends, Flash, Newbie, and Check-in. Rotate these and keep them fresh. So that even casual customers will see something new every time they come in. Some of these specials can be used to drive an event at your store, like a ‘Foursquare Day’ where you can have any type of event that you want… a concert, a kid’s carnival, whatever you want. The point is to get foot traffic in the door and sales in the register.
10. Finally, make sure your employees know about this. I have personally experienced blank stares from someone across the counter more than once, and it is totally preventable. If you want to look stupid, then ignore this advice. If you want to be successful then train, train, train your employees. They need to help you promote this, not hurt you in the process.
So there you go. What are you waiting for? Quit reading this and get busy. Your mayor will thank you.