What is it?
Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”. ~Wikipedia
There are many check-in apps, foursquare is just one of the most well known ones. Facebook is now being widely used, and there is another check-in app called Get Glue that is more entertainment based.
There is also a game component to foursquare. You friend people on foursquare much the way you do on Facebook, and they can then compete against you for badges, leaderboards, etc. by getting points for check-ins.
Why should you care?
The biggest thing I hear with regards to these check-in apps is that people don’t want others to know where they are; that it’s too personal.
I agree with that. I don’t think that people should be checking in everywhere and anywhere that they are. So - why should you check in?
1 - check in if you are really pleased with the service somewhere. By checking in and commenting (or sharing through your other networks), you are telling others that you recommend the service. It’s a nice thing to do.
2 - some companies will give you a discount for checking in, some for every 5 or 10 checkins and some for being mayor (the person who has most often checked-in to a location becomes the mayor). Maybe you wouldn’t be inclined to tell everyone you were having dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory… unless you got 15% off your bill for it.
Which brings us to the next point, how should businesses use check-in apps.
1- If you have a physical location, make sure that your location is entered into as many check-in apps as possible. If someone wants to check in, make it easy for them.
2 - Offer an incentive - if you offer a discount people will be more inclined to check in than if you don’t. This is great and cheap publicity for your business. The options for the discount are limitless.
Here are some ideas:
- 15% at a restaurant for checking in
- a draw for $100 gift certificate from everyone who checks in to your establishment over the course of a month
- a free ticket to the next event drawn from everyone who checks in to this year’s event
- a free massage for every 10 check ins at a spa
- free coffee or dessert for the mayor
The more businesses offer incentives the more people will check in to places - it’s a two way street and I believe that this will take off more and more in the coming months and years.
Do you use a check-in app? Which one? Do you use it for your business?