Play Foursquare to Grow Your Brand Advocate Base

Store-based retailers have a new way to reach out to and reward their best customers in Foursquare. The Website and GPS-based mobile application allows customers to “check in” to brick-and-mortar stores, restaurants, bars and more using mobile devices with Internet access or text-messaging capabilities.

The Web site promotes users to divulge their whereabouts on a map, in real time, as often as they can. And each time they do, they earn points towards a “badge” or free products.

So if your business has a roof over its head and a front door for customers to enter, your brand can benefit. Once someone checks in to your business, an alert will be sent to their friends letting them know where they are. It’s a conglomerate of location-based gaming rudiments and social media—a game that both business owners and consumers can play at the same time.

The person who frequents a business location the most wins the “mayor” title. And here’s where your business and your opportunity come into play.

Foursquare provides a way for you to identify your most loyal customers. Those people earning the “mayor” title over and over again represent your most loyal customer base—and your business can greatly benefit from taking action based on this kind of information. Here are a few steps you can use to start reaping the benefits that Foursquare can provide:

Do your research. It’s important to know what Foursquare is and how it works. Spend some time exploring the options within Foursquare and forming a genuine understanding of how it can be of benefit to your business.

Do your homework. Has anyone visited your business and reported it to Foursquare? Or better yet, have you even checked?

Often times, when someone updates their check-in location on Foursquare, it automatically informs their Twitter feed. So you can either perform a search for your business on Twitter or you can perform a search on Foursquare’s homepage by typing your business name into the upper-right-hand corner.

Be sure to update your business location within Foursquare to ensure that you’re receiving accurate information. From Foursquare, you can see if you have had any check ins, how many, the number of unique visitors and most importantly, who the mayor of your business is. And if you’re using a Twitter search to find out who is checking in, be sure the tweet includes a link to Foursquare.

Who is visiting? It’s important to make a note of those people who are frequently visiting your business. Why? Because they’re loyal customers who are spreading the word. It’s important to make note of your “regulars” and of course, “the mayor.”

In order to be considered for mayor, a person must provide a photo of themselves. By knowing the names and faces of your most loyal customers, you have a unique opportunity to reach out to them using a more personal touch.

Reward your mayor. Your mayor is most likely your business’s most loyal customer—and therefore, it’s best practice to reward him or her with freebies or special offers. For example, if you own a clothing store, the next time your mayor comes in, reward them with a gift card or free merchandise.

Some businesses are taking it a step further and sending the owner of the establishment out to bestow a personal thank you to the mayor of their business. It might also benefit you to offer other loyal customers deals and freebies as well.

In a nutshell, Foursquare is a way for businesses to identify and reach out to their most loyal customer base. It also serves as proof of just how powerful the ongoing trend towards mobile Internet access is for brands with brick-and-mortar locations.

Lisa Wehr is CEO/ founder of digital marketing agency Oneupweb.