Changes to Foursquare in recent months mean that UK retailers, outlets and venues can now push offers directly to users who check-in to their locations.
Whilst not as popular in the UK as in the United States, Foursquare continues to gather pace with UK sign-ups and most major retail outlets have already embraced its unique offering.
For those that don't know, Foursquare allows venues to create profiles on it that are mapped and made available for mobile users (with the Foursquare app that they download free) to "check-in" to. Users earn 'badges' via a points system when they check-in to venues and can use the app to find businesses or outlets they may be interested in.
Previously, Foursquare would let retailers display current offers to users that check-in. Now, they've rolled out a system that, once a user checks in, pushes out offers to their mobile devices on a "Promoted offer" basis being trialled with a number of partners at present.
You don't need to be in the exact check-in location of an outlet to receive one of their offers. Being in the vicinity could see you receive an 'offer' from them. It's an excellent opportunity for businesses to communicate with people.
Creating a business profile on Foursquare is easy enough to do. However, to set up "Local updates" and offers you'll need to claim your venue and pay a $10 verification fee that then allows you to set up as many "Special Offers" as you want to.
To get going with business and outlet offers, follow the instructions below:
1. On your profile page, scroll down until you see "Businesses, attract and retain customers" in the right hand column.
2. Claim your venue
3. Choose whether you want to reach customers with local updates or set up special offers
4. Updates are seen by everyone who checks-in at your location. You can give them as often as want. You can also attach images to your updates or special offers, perhaps product related or promotional teaser shots.
There's little else on the social media landscape that can actively connect you with people who are in your direct vicinity. There is also the suggestion that users of Foursquare are likely purchasers based on the fact they're using the platform for finding the best offers out there at present.
Our Operations Director was recently at Gatwick South Terminal and received a promotional offer from Costa Coffee, pushed out to his mobile after he'd checked in to the terminal and was sat close by to Costa. The only problem was the offer related to the North Terminal so clearly there are a few marketing campaign glitches to be addressed by those that set them up - but he did still go in to Costa Coffee as a result of it, purely because of being reminded they were nearby.
However, the uses go beyond that - the Foursquare presence allows brand awareness to any business.
Your entry appears to anyone checking Foursquare, to other businesses and venues and you can connect with others and create lists to build a better presence.
So, whether you're a retailer, a business, a venue, a charitable organisation and any other 'place' - if you're not on Foursquare you're certainly missing out on an opportunity that is unique in style and is growing in awareness in the UK.