It’s all the rage, the new social media company Foursquare encourages users to check-in, or become a mayor of the local bar down the street. In an incredibly short period of time Foursquare has become the dominate player on the mobile social web.
Businesses have long wondered about the people who walk through their doors. Sure they know the regulars, but what about the customers who come by every so often? Who are they? How can businesses reach them? And most importantly, how can businesses encourage them to come back? Foursquare and other mobile apps may be able to help them.
Foursquare is a consumer mobile service that encourages people to share their location information with others. Foursquare’s stats are impressive. The company claims the following since its launch: More than 725,000 users have checked-in over 22 million times to almost 2 million places (1,400 of which are offering Foursquare specials such as a free beer or coffee). Using Foursquare, you can check-in to a place, be it a restaurant, your friend’s house or a store, in any city across the world.
Recently, Foursquare launched the Local Business Dashboard, which provides businesses with more data about their customers and methods of reaching them through the app. It displays data about what days and when people are coming to your store.
According to The New York Times’ Bits blog, “Business owners will also be able to offer instant promotions to try to engage new customers and keep current ones,” and, “there will also be a Staff page available to each business that will allow employees to interact directly with customers using social networks.” Business owners are already jumping at the opportunity by giving away “Foursquare Specials,” or free items, to the mayor of their business. This encourages users to check-in more often, and occasionally persuades patrons to choose a Foursquare-friendly business (for the perks!) over an alternative.
With Foursquare the game is real and so are the rewards - courtesy of Jack Aaronson’s article:
Here are some examples of companies using different reward schedules to honor their loyal customers:
- Alamo Drafthouse gives you two free movie tickets if you are the “mayor” of that location.
- Atomic Wings (in NYC) gives you 15 percent off if you are the mayor.
- Ben & Jerry’s (in Detroit) gives you a free small cone for every fifth check-in. Mayors get 10 percent off.
- The Doubletree Hotel Crystal City (Virginia) gives 20 percent off an entrée to all who check in. Mayors get 20 percent off their total bill.
- Nightingale Theater (Tulsa) gives a free bag of popcorn and a beer on your fifth check-in.
- Xoom (NYC) gives you a free smoothie when you buy one and check in with a friend.
- The Wynn Hotel (Las Vegas) gives you a free glass of champagne when you check in at the Blush nightclub.
- The Lite Choice (NYC) offers free upgrades to a larger size cup or cone just by checking in.
Location-based services make it possible for small businesses to make meaningful online connections with their local audience. Have you put a reward program in place for your loyal, local, online customers?
Check out this video by Kevin Rose one of Foursquare’s Angel investors.