6 Foursquare Marketing Tips

We have seen a lot of improvements to theFoursquare application since it’s launch, (including major improvements around cheating) and the number of users has crossed one million.
In one of my previous blog’s on Foursquare I said that I thought it would be critical for venues on a large scale to start participating for it to be really fun.  Here are some tips for venue’s and Foursquare junkies who want to help their local venue’s get on the bandwagon.
By the way, as I was doing final edits on this post, I got the following comment on my firstpost, which I would like to share:
“It seems like an absolute waste of time as a business owner to do this.  Why do we want to give stuff away for free to someone who is already there?  Is it really building business or brand loyalty to our customers?  It just seems to me if I’m at the park and I’m throwing bread crumbs on the ground the pigeons will arrive.  So what?”
I hope it wasn’t from any of the restaurants I am a “regular” at.
Why Set Up A Foursquare Promotion?
It’s FREE …duh
First, to sign up for a Foursquare promotion as a venue, it is absolutely free.  Almost every bar or restaurant I visit has a marketing budget for free giveaways or discounts and in many cases they are printing these advertisements either internally or externally.  Yes.  I said PRINT, as in on paper.  What a waste, and printing costs money.
Foursquare has free analytics for participating venues now as well – see who was there, who hasn’t been there and more.
Pull People From Your Local Competitors
One of the coolest features of Foursquare Specials is that when a user checks into a venue, if your venue is nearby and you have a Special Promotion, the user will be informed of it, hopefully pull that customer to your venue.
6 Marketing Tips
#1. Make the Promotion Accessible & Special
I was recently in Las Vegas and I was checking out the promotions in various spots.  I thought the Wynn did a good job of making it fun for everyone who checks in.  They offered a free glass of champagne at Blush Nightclub for all check-ins.  The Palms on the other hand offered 2 VIP passes for the Mayor of Moon Nightclub.  Um, I’m just there for the weekend.  I’ll never be the mayor and therefore no incentive to visit the club.  It is great for locals, but in a town like Vegas I think appealing to visitors is probably a better bet.
wynn hotel las vegas
I have also seen promos for a free drink on the first check-in, which can help a new venue get people in the door to check out the place.  I also like what a local eatery, Graze in Hong Kong has done offering a free cup of coffee for every check-in and then a bottle of wine every Friday for the Mayor.
Also, make your specials unique to your Foursquare users.  There is nothing worse than the let down after you realize everyone gets half price off of appetizers from 4 to 6 pm, not just Foursquare users.
#2. Educate Your Staff
It is wonderful that the marketing departments of venues are getting on board with social media tools, but if someone walks in to redeem a promotional offer it doesn’t look good when the floor staff don’t know what Foursquare is.
This has happened to me a few times.  On one occasion I spoke to four people before the manager came to apologize that they didn’t know about it and I then had to explainFoursquare to him! Unfortunately for this venue I even saw people writing in the Tips that they had no clue.
#3. Educate Your Customers
Once you have your staff on board, start telling your customers about the fact that you are using Foursquare.  A nice way to do that is like this example at Graze in Hong Kong.  They have a screen on the register that lets people know about it as they are paying.
The first users of Foursquare are people who are already users of social media tools like Twitter because they are such nice compliments.  However, Foursquare can appeal to people who aren’t interested in Tweeting if they can receive the benefits of check-in promotions.  There are a lot of people using iPhones, Blackberrys and Androids, which can use Foursquare globally.  Getting your regular customers onto Foursquare can be beneficial in a few ways: it creates community, it enforces loyalty, and hopefully they will enter tips about why they love your venue for others to see.
#4. Be Smart
It is not a good incentive to your customers to come to your venue to check-in if the Mayor is the marketing manager, the owner, the owner’s spouse or an employee.  The chances of ousting a Mayor that works at a venue are much smaller.  This goes back to my previous point about accessibility.  They need not stop checking in.  There is a simple way on the Foursquare website to give up your mayorship.
Login to Foursquare.com, view your Mayorships on the lower right and then click the X.  You will be prompted that you are about to give up your Mayorship.
#5. Leave Your Own Tips
add a tip
What’s wrong with a little self-promotion? Let your customers know what your favorite dishes are or other helpful hints, facts or cool info about you venue.  Be open about the fact it is a staff member, but a little self-promotion never hurt anyone.
#6. Follow-up
After my stop at Blush Nightclub I got a tweet from their marketing department asking me if I had a good time.  That was cool.  Good follow-up is good customer service.  I would send people there.
follow up
All in all, have fun and be creative.  Foursquare Specials can be a great way of bonding with your customers.
via: penn-olson.com

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