Lately I’ve had mixed feelings about the Foursquare phenomenon. At first I didn’t see value in the application. Then once I started using it and talking to friends about it and I was on the fence. I had some friends who were female who were worried about their safety. On the other hand, I had friends competing to be the “Mayor” of a local wine bar Counter Point in San Diego. Other friends were micro-targeting each others desk to be the “Mayor” of each others domain as an office prank. This made me realize that part of the fun was the game and this is the ingredient to their success. The game aspect if leveraged by venues, especially restaurants, can be excellent marketing.
If restaurants embrace Foursquare, I believe they can leverage social media to get massive marketing exposure. I came to this realization after spending time with part of my family who owns a restaurant group and discussing their social media questions.
They realized they need to leverage social media, but they are so busy with operational stuff their biggest concern was time. I made a few suggestions, but my #1 recommendation was leverage Foursquare.
The great thing about Foursquare is that it automatically updates Facebook and Twitter when someone checks-in via their mobile phone and the power is in the numbers.
The average Facebook user has 130 friends. If 10 people a day check-in on Foursquare, it will notify at least 1,300 people on Facebook. Customers who use Foursquare and mobile updates are more active users and probably have 2-300 friends reaching 2-3000 people per day. What other form of marketing can restaurants and venues use for free that can reach thousands of people a day?
- Put up a badge on the restaurant website stating either “Find us on Foursquare” or “Be our Mayor on Foursquare” or make a custom widget here http://www.placewidget.com/
- If the restaurant has table top promotions, add similar messaging to the promo cards or table tents
- Have a Foursquare happy hour once a week. Every customer who shows their server a Foursquare check-in gets their first drink or appetizer half-off
- Create a window sticker “Be our Mayor on Foursquare”
- Promote Foursquare in email newsletters