How Nashville businesses can help flood victims using Foursquare

If you are a business in Nashville looking for ways to contribute to the relief from to the #nashvillefloods this past weekend, the new geolocation social networking app, Foursquare, may be an easy way to facilitate your contributions.

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a relatively new social networking tool that gives people the ability to “check-in” at all kinds of places: cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices—you name it. Think of it as an easy way of telling other users where you are.

As a local business owner, Foursquare provides you the ability to reward loyalty. Marketing says that it’s far easier and cheaper to market to your existing customer than it is a new one. So, Foursquare now provides you the opportunity to identify and reward returning customers by offering them “Specials,” which are  discounts and prizes you can offer your loyal customers when they check-in at your venue. Each venue also has a Mayor—someone who has checked into your business the most in the past 60 days. (I’ve provided a full list of “specials” that Foursquare provides below.)

There are lots of benefits of using Foursquare, but the biggest is the ability that the app brings of putting a name and a face with your contribution. Not for marketing reasons per se, but because it helps you, the business, connect with the people who are in need.

Example

Let’s say that Merridee’s in downtown Franklin, TN wants to give away a 500 loaves of bread during the month of May. One way to facilitate this would be to set up a “Check-in Special” with Foursquare so that every time someone check’s in, they are notified of the offer and are given the opportunity to get, or give away, their free loaf of bread. It’s as easy as that.

The Benefits

There are two main reasons why Merridee’s, the business, could benefit from using Foursquare to facilitate their donation:

  1. They leverage the power of social networking to spread the word, thus, lowering cost of time and resources used in their efforts
  2. Using Foursquare’s robust analytics, they would be able to see impact of the effort, both from a reach and loyalty standpoint

The Risk

The reality is, Foursquare is relatively new and not a lot of people or businesses are aware or are using it yet. You may end up answering more questions about Foursquare, than giving away bread.

The Benefit

Beyond the goal of distributing 500 loaves of bread into a community that desperately needs assistance, you’ve taken the first step towards identifying and rewarding those people who love and support your business.

My Recommendation

If you’re up for new ways to connect with your loyal customers, you can’t go wrong with this approach. It makes sense on so many levels. As more and more business grab a hold of the power and potential of Foursquare, there will be a momentum and, eventually, an expectation that you’ll be a participant in this space.

In the end, Foursquare is a fast and effective way to reward real-time loyalty. Furthermore, it will help you personalize your service, know your customers better and continue to reward them, again and again, for being patrons of your business.


Here’s a quick list of the types of specials that Foursquare is currently offering:

  • Mayor Specials: unlocked only by the Mayor of your venue. Who’s the Mayor? It’s your single most loyal customer.
  • Check-in Specials: unlocked when a user checks in to your venue a certain number of times.
  • Frequency-based Specials: are unlocked every X check-ins.
    Example: Foursquare users get 20% off any entree every 5th check-in!
  • Wildcard Specials: always unlocked, but your staff has to verify some extra conditions before awarding the Special.
    Example: Show us your foursquare Swarm badge and get a free drink!

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  • http://www.lauraclick.com Laura Click

    This is an interesting approach, Kyle! Thanks for sharing the idea. I'd love to hear if any businesses pick up on this idea. I still think that Foursquare is still trying to grab hold in Nashville. What do you think?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/chownage Kyle Chowning

      I agree with you Laura. It's slowly catching on. The good news is, most times that I check-in somewhere, a Mayor is already established. A good sign.

  • Barbara-anne

    This is an interesting approach, Kyle! Thanks for sharing the idea. I'd love to hear if any businesses pick up on this idea. I still think that Foursquare is still trying to grab hold in Nashville. What do you think?
    +1