Checking-in: getting started with Foursquare

Nov 18, 2012

Checking in is something that didn’t exist five years ago. People generally went places and told their friends about it a day later, assuming their friends weren’t there in the first place. Today millions of people check-in using various social platforms, some with game-like qualities. As a business this is an opportunity. From real estate agents to retailers checking in has the potential to really build a brand. Foursquare, Facebook, Google+, SCVNGR, Yelp, and more check-in apps are available on smartphones and other wireless devices.

With so many options for your business to be involved in it’s not always easy to know where to begin. Making it easy to check-in is one of the most important first steps for a business to do to capture this customer engagement. In this post I’m going to help you get started with Foursquare. Other networks are no less important but as you’ll see from the following, Foursquare is probably the most important one right now.

Getting Started With Foursquare

Unquestionably the largest of check-in networks with over 25 million users. It allows you to post your check-ins to Facebook and Twitter. With such a huge network of users there are over 2 billion check-ins this year. So why is it important? Foursquare for business is one of the best ways to engage with some of those 25 million users. You can create specials and updates that can be shared with Facebook and Twitter as well as nearby users. Additionally you can monitor the check-ins using the analytics generated by each check-in. This information will be your cue for when there is enough check-in traffic to start using promotions on the network and it will also give you an idea of how many of your visitors are savvy enough to be connected through their mobile device. Besides just raw traffic, it gives you time of day, gender, loyalty levels, and how many of those check-ins were shared to Facebook or Twitter. One of the best tools out of this is the loyalty quotient. You can identify your most frequent guests and through the Mayor rewards system reward them with discounts or free stuff. This type of rewards program encourages more engagement and more engagement creates more useful data.

The next part of all of this is to make it easy to check-in and obvious that you encourage check-ins. This can be done with a simple stand-up flyer or something taped to the check-out counter. I encourage people to create something obvious. Place something with the large Foursquare logo somewhere near a popular product, or on the front door. Be it a poster or a sticker make sure it has a handful of basic things on it:

  • QR (quick response) code for check-in
  • URL for your website
  • URL for Foursquare App on Apple and Android app stores
  • A call to action (i.e. "Check-in for a discount")
  • Foursquare Logo


Many people are not going to know what a QR code is…so I’ve posted an example. If you click on this QR code you’ll be directed to one of my favorite QR code generators. You may also want to create QR codes for getting the Apple or Android  Foursquare App. These codes can be used for so many different things that you may find that they become one of your go-to tools for tracking activities across your entire business.

Share your ideas on how to capitalize on check-in applications like Foursquare in the comments section below.



If you really want to take check-ins to the next level, track all of the check-ins and post the name of the Mayor or most recent check-ins in a place that will encourage people to engage. It can also be an opportunity to post positive feedback left by other visitors. Create contests and more with check-ins on other networks as well. Foursquare is just one of the many options that you can use. If you feel you need help getting started and want to explore some of the other check-in options please contact us.

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