Foursquare & Restaurants
If you haven’t been paying attention, Foursquare hit the seven million user mark over the weekend. So you ask so what, or what is Foursquare, then read on. Foursquare is a location-based social network. The reason restaurants should pay attention to it is their impressive growth, and the potential of a new channel to promote your brand. Foursquare hit 2 million users in early July, it took a year to reach one million, and about a month and a half to hit three million. That is some impressive exponential growth!
So what is it about this location based platform that is intriguing? One, Foursquare automatically updates Twitter and Facebook when someone checks-in via their mobile phone. People using the service, “check-in” at locations and earn badges based on a variety of factors. If you can just think about the raw numbers for a minute. If the average Facebook user has say 100 friends (the number is actually higher), and 10 of your friends check-in on foursquare, it will notify at least 1,000 people on Facebook. What makes this all the more interesting is people who use their mobile devices for social media are usually the heavy-hitters and are much more active users. these people have more friends and thus will reach more people per day. What other marketing channel can a restaurant reach thousands of people per day for free??!!
What makes foursquare fun, is you can actually compete to become ‘mayor’ of a location or other prizes they award for usage. Think about the great promotions you could have as customers compete to become mayor of your restaurant! This is Foursquare formula for success. So if the ‘game’ aspect of foursquare can be leveraged by your restaurant, think of the marketing opportunities, and these aren’t costing you a cent.
So how exactly does a restaurant go about using Foursquare?
1. Put up a badge on the restaurant website stating either “Find us on Foursquare” or “Be our Mayor on Foursquare” or make a custom widget here http://www.placewidget.com/
2. Create a window sticker “Be our Mayor on Foursquare”
3. Promote Foursquare in your other marketing efforts, such as direct mail, email, other social media channels, etc.
4. Give discounts, giveaways, promotions, based on the game aspect of Foursquare. You might find only a few people participating at first, but remember the viral nature of the web, those power users and spreading the word of your establishment to thousands of other connected users!
One great success story is AJ Bombers burger joint in Milwaukee. The owner, Joe Sorge attracted 161 Foursquare users at the same time. He did this through offering a Swarm Badge from Foursquare. What makes this REALLY impressive is that at the time there were only 300-400 total Foursquare users in the area at the time. That day, AJ Bombers more than doubled its typical Sunday Sales, with an increase of 110% that day.