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How to Set Up a Foursquare Day Special Offer for Businesses

Tomorrow, 4/16, marks what is sure to become an annual celebration of social media: Foursquare Day.

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is an app (available for most modern smart phones) that encourages users to "check in" when they're out and about. Bars and restaurants are the most common places--anywhere that you might hang out for a while. Checking in sends a ping to your friends so they know where you are. The app also allows users to share tips and compete to earn virtual badges of honor for completing certain tasks (e.g. "School Night" for checking in somewhere after 4am Monday-Friday). The most frequent visitor to each venue is crowned the "mayor" of the venue. While it was released at Austin's SXSW festival in 2009, Foursquare has gained tracking in recent months, having added nearly 1 million users since the start of 2010.

FourSquare Day

Foursquare Day Specials

While many businesses have special offers for checking in ($1 off at Tasti D-Lite) or being mayor (a free beer everyday at BLT Fish), tomorrow's Foursquare Day celebration has prompted many one-off special offers to mark the holiday. For example, Blue Fountain Media is offering $200 off any new project if you request a quote tomorrow. Other businesses with special offers include London's Hummus Bros vegetarian-friendly restaurant chain offering free dessert to anyone who checks in. The posh Conrad Hotel in Miami is offering 50% off all wines and spirits to Foursquare users. Avid Foursquare fans have even put together a website to catalog all the Foursquare Day offers.

Launching Your Own Foursquare Day Offer

It's not too late! Launching your own Foursquare day offer is easy...

1. Pick an Offer

Come up with a nice incentive for users to visit you on Foursquare Day. There's little to lose in being experimental--the whole thing is only valid for 24 hours. The best offer is something that can be explained in a short sentence--long, complicated messages are difficult to spread virally over social media services like Twitter (which limit users to 140 character messages).

2. Tell Your Staff

Believe it or not, business-owners frequently implement special promotions or discounts without telling their employees. This can result annoyed or even angry customers. Make sure you tell your staff about the offer. Consider giving your staff a written explanation of the offer, what is is, and why you're giving it, and how to explain it to customers. That way they can refer to it during the day if they have any questions or forget what the offer details are. If applicable, be sure to explain to your staff how to enter the discount into your POS (cash register) or how to adjust bills to reflect the discount.

3. Tell the World

Spreading the word about your Foursquare Day offer is easy. Here are a few simple places to announce your discount:

  • 4sqday.com - Add your offer to the Foursquare Day directory of special offers.
  • Twitter - Tweet today and then again once or twice tomorrow. Consider linking to the 4sqday.com page for your offer.
  • Facebook - Post the announcement and details to your Facebook fan page. Again, consider linking to the 4sqday.com page.
  • Blog - Does your business have a blog? Write up a note about Foursquare Day and your special offer

4. Accepting the Offer

How strictly the offer's terms and conditions are enforced is up to you. If you want to absolutely require customers to have checked in before they can receive your Foursquare Day offer, simply ask them to show you their phone. Here's an example of a check-in confirmation screen:

BFM FourSquare

That's it. Happy Foursquare Day!

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