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Foursquare to Become Recommendation Engine: What That Means For Your Marketing Strategy

July 16th, 2012 ::


Two years ago, Foursquare was an undisputed social king, the go-to site for checking and sharing your location with others.  A recent New York Times article, however, indicated their reign is over – so they are readjusting their entire mission and pivoting almost 180° into a recommendation engine.

As the Times said, “Foursquare must contend with the short attention span of mobile app users. Its efforts show how hard it can be nowadays for start-ups to sustain their early momentum and chart a course to mass-market success in such a rapidly changing industry.”

As you are aware, Foursquare lets you share your location with friends, either to spur a spontaneous get together – or just because – and earn badges when you check-in to locations. Their new focus will include an “explore” button that recommends where to go based on the time of day, the popularity of nearby places, past check-ins, etc.

“People still think about us in terms of points and badges, which still works as a way to bring on new users,” Foursquare’s CEO, Dennis Crowley, said. “But the bigger point is to take the rich data we have about how people interact with their location and turn it into recommendations.”

So what does this mean for your local marketing strategy?

Encourage check-ins!  Here’s how:

Ask for check-ins – because check-ins will count for a lot in Foursquare’s recommendation engine, remind people to check in with a sign on your door and near your register – and ask your employes to mention it as well.

Tie check-ins to a reward – again, to really encourage check-ins, reward your customers for doing so.  Offer coupons, a discount, or a freebie for each check-in.

Encourage word-of-mouth – this is good marketing sense, period, but of course by increasing your customer-base, you will also increase the number of check-ins.  Ask your customers to post more than their location.  Tap into their desire to share by encouraging them to mention what they love about your business.

Use time of day to your advantage – if other businesses around you or your neighborhood in general are really busy at certain times of day, lure people into your business with the above-mentioned coupons, discounts, or freebies.

Work together with nearby businesses – cross-platform marketing works in the physical world too.  Promote the businesses around you and vice versa – and use the time of day ideas above to everyone’s advantage.


What other ways have you encouraged Foursquare check-ins? Leave a comment below!

Image courtesy of socialmediaexaminer.com

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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Posted in Marketing, Social Media | 9 Comments »

  • http://twitter.com/rhogroupee Rosemary O’Neill

    To me, the piece that’s missing is for the business to recognize when someone has checked in.  If there were an immediate physical reaction or reward (say, in a restaurant, if they came over with a free cookie or something) I would be delighted and drawn in.  Particularly missed opportunity when recognizing the mayor checking in…

    • Anonymous

       Great point – more businesses should do this!  (I have heard of some employing this tactic – but apparently it’s not the businesses you frequent!)

    • http://twitter.com/JulieGallaher Julie Gallaher

      I just posted a guest blog from the CEO of Fourscan – it’s a service that lets businesses monitor check-ins – and do exactly what you’re suggesting http://getonthemap.us/foursquare/4-reasons-restaurants-should-use-fourscan-to-monitor-foursquare-tips

      • Anonymous

         Thanks for sharing Julie!  Great resource!

  • Rich

    Never heard of it before. Maybe because I use my un-smart phone for phone calls?

    • Anonymous

       Ha – yeah probably!

  • BigJake46000

    Love Foursquare, and love the deals that come with it, that was and still is the reason I check in…who doesn’t like free things! 

  • BigJake46000

    Love Foursquare, and love the deals that come with it, that was and still is the reason I check in…who doesn’t like free things! 

    • Anonymous

       LOL – free is great – as long as it’s something you want!