If you have a physical location:
1. Claim your venue.
Even if you’re not actively participating in Foursquare as a form of social media marketing yet, chances are users are already checking in to your business. If your business isn’t already there, that’s actually kind of a bad sign – any user can create a new venue, so why hasn’t somebody created yours yet? It’s not the end of the world, though, because it also means you can put yourself on Foursquare.
There are varying instructions if you’re a chain with 10+ (or 100+) locations. In any case, Foursquare will verify your ownership by phone or mail and then…well, what does being verified mean? Claiming your venue not only allows you to use Foursquare’s built-in analytics, but it also lets you:
2. Create a Foursquare special.
Verified business owners get free access to Foursquare’s merchant platform, which includes the ability to create a variety of different types of specials and discounts specifically for Foursquare users, which they can “unlock” when they check in to your location. Specials can target new customers (newbie special: get a discount or free item on the first check-in) or existing, loyal customers (loyalty special: a discount or free item every third or fourth check-in). You can even print off a sheet that explains how Foursquare works to your employees to prepare to implement a special.
If you do not have a physical location:
3. Create a Foursquare page.
What can pages do? Pages can have followers – users see your activity on their homepages. Pages can have a giant, customizable banner across the top of the page (it’s all about branding). All you need to create a page is a Twitter account, which you obviously already have. Right? Right. Unlike venues, which are created immediately, pages can take up to about two weeks to be implemented. Once your page is there, you can:
4. Leave tips at venues.
Foursquare describes a tip as “a tweet that’s anchored to a location,” although it’s a little bit more than that. Tips tell Foursquare users what to order, where to sit, if the bathrooms are gross, which exhibits to check out – they’re mini-reviews, but they can also do more than that. The HISTORY Channel page leaves tips with interesting historical facts. Foursquare’s brand platform home page has examples of how leaving tips can work for you no matter your industry, from non-profits to consumer goods to sports.
5. Create a Foursquare Partner Badge.
The previous four tips apply to everyone. This fifth tip applies to a very narrow selection of Foursquare pages. First of all, this is the only suggestion that isn’t free – Foursquare charges a fee to create a Partner Badge. Secondly, they’re very selective when it comes to creating badges. Foursquare receives a lot of submissions for Partner Badges, but has limited capability to make those ideas a reality. However, if you do get approved, you’ll be rewarded with vastly increased followers and a ton of exposure. Foursquare lists some tips to creating a campaign that they will approve.