5 Biggest Foursquare Mistakes Businesses Should Avoid

More than 20 million people have signed up on Foursquare, and there are 250,000 businesses that have claimed their venue and use the location-based service as part of their overall marketing program. And the number keeps on increasing exponentially each day. Foursquare is a free platform for merchants to engage and incentivize customers, but only when done right. Here are the 5 biggest foursquare mistakes your should avoid in your Foursquare marketing endeavors.

1. Keep a check on Multiple Places of Same Venue

Most of the big restaurants, stores or malls have more than one venue. It is necessary to keep a check on the number of same places created on Foursquare. Most of the time, users create a place to check-in and before you get to know about it other people are checking in as well. So, claim your venue and try to report others with the same name & location. Authenticate it with Foursquare. Follow the steps given by Foursquare team and once done, you would be owner of your own venue irrespective of whosoever created it. It is important to do so, to keep a follow of customers/users streamlined to a single place which will increase the visibility of the venue and benefit the owner.

2. Creating a Complicated Special

If I am not going to get it in the first few attempts, I am not going to try getting it ever. There’s no fun in trying to unlock a special that is nearly impossible to unlock. Try to keep it simple. The purpose is to bridge the gap between customers and business.

There are 7 kinds of specials to choose from, depending on whether you’re targeting new customers, encouraging people to come back multiple times or wanting to reward the mayor (your most loyal Foursquare customer). Choose the purpose and select a special accordingly.

Foursquare enables businesses to activate a special, only on certain days or during certain times, or they can reward people for every nth check-in, regardless of what time or day it happens. “Receive a free starters on your 3rd check-in” or “10% off your bill on Tuesdays” are good examples of simple rewards. Easy to understand and pursue.

Specials can provide discounts, a few bucks off or a free item. The point of Foursquare Special is to make a person feel special and provide him with something he couldn’t get as a regular customer. Also, remember to set an end-date for your campaign if it’s a limited-time offer and use the fine print if there are exclusions to your special. Obviously, you can return with new specials and rewards later, to keep the momentum alive.

2. Not Training the Staff

What would happen if you take a valid discount coupon to a store and the store keeper doesn’t even recognize it. More than being annoyed, you’d be embarrassed. Similarly, you never want someone to achieve a special and show it to your staff, only to be looked at with Surprise. Be sure your team is prepared, can recognize a Foursquare special and let the user claim the offer. Once you create a special, Foursquare provides flyers for you to print — one for employees, and one for customers — to build awareness for the product and make sure everyone is on the same page. Make sure you use them. In case of addition or removal of a special, be sure to alert the team so they can answer any Foursquare-related questions. Generally, in case of restaurants or cafes, the specials work well, but you need to make sure each of your staff members recognizes the achievement and acknowledge them (via Facebook or Twitter, if possible).

3. Not Using Foursquare’s Dashboard

The Foursquare dashboard provides you with complete analytics & useful information. In addition to details on the gender and age breakdown of those users, owners can see what times people are checking in. It gives the complete demographics of a venue that which can be used to craft a special to lure people to their venues during slow periods. A very few % of people send check-ins to Twitter or Facebook, so logging in to the dashboard allows you to see who your most frequent and most recent Foursquare check-ins are. This gives you an inside look at your customers, while also proving contact information — such as their Twitter handles — if a user provided it. The Twitter handle can be used for one-on-one outreach, which will make your customers feel special and appreciated.

4. Giving Away Too Much Via Specials

Just like on other discounting websites, there is a point at which your margins could be affected in such a way that you could be losing money. If you’re a cafe, you might not to be able to afford giving away a free coffee with each check-in. That’s fine, just get more creative and offer a more exclusive special. The idea is to make people work (in this case visit frequently) to achieve the Specials and then reward them. Perhaps you can do a loyalty special so that people get a reward — a free coffee — on every third or fourth visit. This way, they’re incentivized to come back, so you’re encouraging and rewarding loyalty with gratification.

5. Not Advertising That You’re a Foursquare Merchant

People might not be inclined to check in if they don’t know there’s a reward. So, be sure to put the window clings (which Foursquare sends you when you create a special) on display. Setting up a special also guarantees that your business is shown in the “specials nearby” tab when people open the Foursquare app in the vicinity of your business. People might be more inclined to try your business — and keep coming back — if they know there’s an incentive on Foursquare. Therefore, not publicizing your special can be a huge missed opportunity.

What are some small business Foursquare marketing mistakes you’ve seen? Let us know in the comments.

Featured image courtesy: bfishadow