Check In At Your Favourite Pub And Earn Yourself A Love Your Local Badge...
FourSquare has struggled to gain traction in the UK outside of major cities such as London and Birmingham in the past but its popularity is steadily growing and now they've opened an office to grow business partnerships in the UK and across Europe. As a location-based social networking app it's certainly one of my favourite tools for finding places to go and checking in to venues.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter or Google+, whose mantras are to allow users to share just about any thought they have, FourSquare wants you to let your friends know where you are and leave tips about the places you've been. To make it more interesting the service is set up as more of a "game", with users scoring points for each check-in at a location and the person who's checked in the most earning themselves the status of Mayor of that venue.
With each check in users are shown a scoreboard, comparing them to their friends. It builds up a friendly rivalry that encourages users to check in at more places to score higher than their friends and the opportunity to steel the mayorship from a mate; users can then choose to share their FourSquare check in and mayoral status on their favourite social networking sites.
More importantly, FourSquare offers business owners the opportunity to capitalise on this rivalry by offering incentives to people who check in at their business. Site managers can set up specials that offer discounts, gifts or free products to visitors set on specific criteria.
Maybe you want to encourage people to start checking in by offering a Newbie Special. Or maybe you'd like to offer your mayor a reward for their loyalty (or even for the bitter rivalry between constantly interchanging mayors). Maybe you'd like to offer a special to people who've checked in five times, encouraging them to become more proactive with their check-ins.
Once they've unlocked a special, users simply show the screen to a member of staff to receive their reward.
To assist business owners further, FourSquare provide a set of easy-to-read but comprehensive statistics on how well their presence on the site is performing, how many check-ins they're getting, number of specials unlocked, and even the demographics of their visitors, to help them better understand how the service is working. You can even see when a check in has been shared on Facebook or Twitter...
And now, they've gone one step further, offering their loyalty to the Great British Pub in the way of a new badge. Badges of honour are offered to FourSquare users for completing a variety of tasks. Checking in to a venue late on a weekday will win you the School Night badge, while venues in London will get you the London Calling badge.
This week, however, UK users can earn the Love My Local badge for checking in to a pub three times. As the network gains more credibility and ground in the UK it's a lovely little reward for an iconic part of Britain's culture: The Pub.
So, pub goers: start using FourSquare, checking in at your favourite pubs to let them know you're there, and to get your badge! And publicans, make sure your customers have got an offer on hand to get themselves that badge...
Follow Mark J Daniels on Twitter: www.twitter.com/markinapub