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When I was young I used to play a game called four square.  It was fun and easy and all you needed to play was a red rubber ball, a piece of chalk to draw the lines, and a relatively flat piece of playground.  Four people at a time would each occupy a square and bounce the ball to try to get one of the other competitors out.  As kids were eliminated a new kid from the line of those waiting to play would fill in at the starting square and the remaining 3 players would advance toward the top square.  Once you reached the top square you were crowned the King.

Today foursquare has been transformed by technology into a new type of game.  To play you need a cell phone with the foursquare app, a few orbiting GPS space satellites, and the places and business around you.  You pull out your phone while visiting a business, venue or place and turn on the foursquare app.  The satellites tell the app where you are, and shows you all the places that are nearby and any people who are also playing foursquare that might be close.  Then you Check In to the place where you are and tell all of your friends (via Facebook, twitter, or text).  For the Check In you earn points, and sometimes badges, and when you get to be the person who checks in the most at that location you are crowned the Mayor.  The app also allows you to post tips about the place you checked in like “order the hot wings they are the best in town”, or “this is the place to be on Friday night”.  Users can also post pictures that they take with their phones while visiting the place

Foursquare is big (over 10 million users) and growing very fast.  More and more people are Checking In to their favorite places every day.  They are lining up to see if they can get to be the Mayor, and they are getting tips from other regulars on what to do or try when they get there.  And when they Check In they are telling all of their friends where they are and why they should be there too.

So what if you (the business owner/manager) could see all of the people that are Checking In and encourage more people to do the same.  Well you can and so much more.  All you have to do is go to and claim your business.  Once you have provided the necessary information to prove that you own or manage the business you will be given access to the venue and all of its accompanying data.

This means you can verify and edit details about the business like phone numbers, address, and description of the business and even add twitter handles and website addresses so people can find out more about your business.  You can see statistics showing everyone that has checked in, how often they checked in and the time and date of their last Check In.  You also have access to see detailed information that each person has shared, including their twitter handle (meaning you could personally thank them for their visit), what other businesses they have checked into, and what mayorships and badges they have earned.  You can even see graphs of time breakdowns of when people Check In.

As the manager of the Venue you also have the ability to add rewards to your foursquare venue to give people incentives to come and Check In.  For instance you could offer to give the Mayor one free drink with meal purchase to reward their loyalty and to entice others to try to steal the title.  Or you can offer a free appetizer for the first Check In to entice people that haven’t tried you out to do so.

The great thing about Foursquare is that it is free, and it takes very little maintenance once it is set up.  So be a kid again and play Foursquare to drive more people to your door.
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Comments

  • Eric,

     

    Thank you for the comment.  I love the idea of the wheel of destiny. It continues the game aspect of the whole checking in, making it fun and encouraging more people to check in and to invite their friends to do the same.  It is so easy for a bar or restaurant to implement this type of deal, and they can modify it on their schedule and terms for free.  I don't see any down side to this at this point.

     

  • Michael,

     

    Thanks for sharing this in the FohBoh community. I agree that more restaurants should be proactive in claiming their foursquare business pages: https://foursquare.com/business/.

     

    There are a lot of fun things a restaurant can do with Foursquare. I was at a bar in Philadelphia and they have a promotion where if you check in, you get to "spin the wheel of destiny" (a wheel-of-fortune type wheel), and you can win little prizes (a drink or discount) or other amusing outcomes. A great way to engage customers, have a little fun, and encourage check-ins, which spreads the word.

     

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