4 Ways That Marketers Can Use Foursquare

I have to admit, I never thought that Foursquare was particularly useful or interesting.


A few of my coworkers used the app, but that was it. There didn’t seem anything too great about it – not even when one of them apparently checked in enough times to become “mayor” of the office. Woohoo.

Plus, it didn’t seem particularly smart to keep “checking in” whenever I went out somewhere – that’s kind of like posting a status that says: “Please rob my house, I’m not at home.”

But then I started noticing how some of the big brands were using it as a location-based marketing tool, and I realized that it’s more than just a “check-in” app. It’s a great platform for bridging the gap between your offline and online audience in an affordable and scalable way. 

(You can read more about location-based marketing here, here and here in some of my earlier posts.)

Foursquare’s a great place for offering deals to users, as well as for giving people more value when they’re searching for different things in a particular city.

And by the way, Foursquare has plans to introduce a new version of the app later this summer, with new, personalized ways to help people find the best places. As marketers, you might want to be keeping an eye out for that.

In the meantime, how are businesses currently using Foursquare?

  • Share deals and updates.


Foursquare doesn’t just help people to discover your business – it also gives you a way to motivate people to visit your business.

You can do this by offering specials and deals that incentivize check-ins. For example you could offer a discount when people check in at your place, or run a contest, ex: “Tweet your check-in for the chance to win an iPad!”

Users will be able to see these special offers by tapping on “Browse Nearby” at the top of the app, and then on “Specials”.

These specials are a cost-efficient way to get Foursquare users to find out about your business, see your social side, build customer loyalty, and create a unique experience on the platform for your customer base.

  • Improve your audience’s event experience.

This could be either your company’s own event, or an event they’re involved with. You can use Foursquare to reach new audiences and generate more interest in your products and services.

It’s easy to add an event to your Foursquare listing – and that in turn will allow people to share their event check-in with their social networks.

That’ll help you increase visibility on other platforms, as well as engagement at your event.

  • Increase engagement with games and trivia.


Take ESPN for an example here. They’re a brand that has nothing to sell, no physical business location to check-in at… and yet they’re on Foursquare. Why?

For the engagement with their audience, of course. 

If you like ESPN on Foursquare, you get sports tips on the best arenas, stadiums, baseball parks and etc from all around the world. You’ll also get fun tips and sports trivia.

So for brands that don’t have anything to sell or anywhere to check in at, you can definitely aim for audience engagement instead.

  • Share your favorites.


Ever noticed how people love following celebrities they like? Everyone loves getting an inside look at the lives of famous people.

Take Ellen DeGeneres for example. She’s got one of the larger Foursquare followings out there, and her followers can see everything that she’s listed as her favorite places from around the world.

If they check-in at these places, they can win special prizes and offers, and even the chance to appear on her show.

If you’re marketing your name as a brand, chances are you’ll have quite a lot of followers, just like Ellen. You can learn from her example and offer discounts or special deals for those who check-in to places that are on your Favorites list.

Or provide value for your followers by recommending places you have been to before.

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