How to Promote Your Business Using Foursquare

Foursquare on mobile phoneEvery business owner, whether his or her business is small, medium or big, should learn how to adapt with the ever evolving technology of the humanity. Although traditional business marketing strategies, techniques, and tactics can still be effective nowadays, we have to learn that without leveraging the modern technology the world offers to us, such as the Internet, social media, and mobile phones, we can be outpaced by our competitors. Therefore, we have to keep on exploring and updating ourselves with the latest marketing opportunities out there.

Perhaps you are already familiar with Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – three of the most popular and most used social networking sites today. Maybe you have already used them to promote your business to attract more customers and grow your profit. But social media aren’t only Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. There are also other useful and free-to-use social networking sites that we can leverage to promote our business to a wider market or audience – and one of them is Foursquare.


What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website that uses application for mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones. It is popular for the word “check in” because of the ability of its users, using a mobile device application, to check in at venues they are visiting, like restaurants, coffee shops, gyms, malls, hotels, and any other business establishment. By checking in, users can share their location, photos, comments, and tips regarding to the venue they’ve checked in to their friends.

The Foursquare app also helps users get useful information, such as personalized recommendation and deals based on where they and their friends have been. For example, when you are in a particular place, Foursquare will give you a list of venues nearby including some tips and recommendations based on friends’ experience and based on your current location.

Foursquare are co-founded by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai in 2007 in New York City. As of September 2012, Foursquare has already over 25 million users worldwide, over 2.5 billion check-ins, and over a million businesses using the Merchant Platform – and still growing!


How to use Foursquare to promote your business?

With more than 25 million people using Foursquare right now, it is already a huge market every business or brand owner shouldn’t miss to tap. And with over a million businesses using the Foursquare Platform, any business should already start leveraging this free app to be more competitive.

You can promote your business on Foursquare either as a business with physical location or a brand which can be accessed online or anywhere in the world. Foursquare offers free set of tools for people who manage the following:

1. Businesses with physical location
These include restaurants, hotels, coffee shops, stores, gyms, movie houses, malls, and any other physical location. If you manage this kind of business, you can use the Foursquare Merchant Platform and take the following steps to promote your business and reach your customers:

a. Claim your venue. To claim your venue or business on Foursquare, you should first register an account to log in. After that, you can already find your listing on Foursquare, claim it, and then verify that you are the manager. To claim your venue, please visit this page.

b. Reach customers with local updates. People use Foursquare to connect with businesses by checking in with them and sharing their photos, tips, and recommendations to their friends and to the public who are using the application. When you claim your business, you can have the ability to make updates about your business, such as your new products, photos of your new offers, and news about anything new on your place. When customers check in to your place multiple times, Foursquare considers them as your loyal customers and they will automatically share your updates when they are in the same city or are nearby to your location.

c. Create specials. When you have already claimed your business venue, you can also create specials to attract more customers and turn them in to loyal ones. Setting up a special is free and only takes a few minutes. Your specials can be discounts, freebies and loyalty specials. Foursquare users will see your specials when they check out your page, look for place to go, and when they browse or explore for deals. You can also share your specials when they’re nearby through your local updates. To learn more about creating specials, you can visit this page from Foursquare.

2. Brands
Brands include media and entertainment companies, such as websites and products that can be accessed from any location or place. Foursquare offers free tools to people who manage brands to engage with their fans anywhere in the world. These tools include the following:

a. Business pages. Pages are just like Facebook or Twitter pages which can be used by brand owners to create a homepage on Foursquare and invite fans or followers. You can check out, like, and follow our newly created Foursquare Page for Business Tips here. Page owners can create tips and let them be searched or explored by millions of Foursquare users. To create your own page for free, visit this page from Foursquare.

b. ‘Save to foursquare’ Button for Publishers. With this tool, you can connect with your visitors in the real world. According to Foursquare, when you add the ‘Save to foursquare’ button to your site, your visitors can easily get foursquare reminders from you when they’re near the places you suggest. When one of your visitors clicks the ‘Save to foursquare’ button on your pages, it save the contents to their to-do list in foursquare. Then, when they’re out and about, foursquare Radar will buzz on their phone when they’re close to it. Adding the “save to foursquare” button to your site is as easy as copying and pasting some code. You can follow the 3 simple steps here.

c. Foursquare Partner Badges. Creating partner badges is also one way to intensify your marketing campaign to promote your business on Foursquare. However, partner badges campaigns are not free – they have corresponding fees attached. Partner Badges are achievements or rewards that users receive after they follow a foursquare Brand Page and check in to a number of locations. To learn more about Foursquare partner badges, please visit this page.

d. API Platform. Foursquare has a super-flexible API, as they describe it. All of the data used in the foursquare mobile app are available via the API for businesses and developers who want to build their own app to promote their business. For more information, documentation, and tips about the Foursquare API, you may visit their developers’ page.



For business owners, especially small business owners who want to be competitive in marketing their business or brands without spending huge money like what big companies do, Foursquare can be the answer. With the rise of the Internet and mobile media, it is a great opportunity to explore Foursquare and leverage it to grow our businesses using Internet and mobile marketing. But just like the old days of marketing, we should always maintain quality and excellence in our every marketing step. For example, we have to ensure that the real products and services we provide to our consumers are as good as how we describe them in our updates or as satisfying as how we capture them in the photos we share on Foursquare.

Victorino Abrugar is a retired CPA practitioner, a blogger, speaker, and an entrepreneur. He's the President of Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing company based in the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter at @viclogic.


  1. says

    i just hope that our local cyberinfrastructure could support foursquare on a much widespread scale and would include agricultural SMEs to support not just food and leisure establishments but also encompass our local agribusiness sector to be able to reach out to small local farmers because there is much money also in the agribusiness industry.

  2. says

    Thanks for the great tips, Sir Vic. Although I strongly disagree on the use of FourSquare as a solid platform to do social media marketing. It’s relatively unstable and it hasn’t really gained traction since its introduction in the Philippines.

    A better alternative would be to use Google Plus for Business or Google Business Pages. They aren’t unlike FourSquare – only infinitely simpler.

    Again, these are just my two cents. :)

    • says

      Thanks for the comment Shandi. I think for local businesses with physical location in the Philippines, Foursquare is a very important mobile marketing mix that everyone should not ignore. I already conducted an experiment on it using my own mobile experience with Foursquare. We don’t need to wait for this mobile social media app to gain popularity that exceeds Facebook and Twitter to leverage it. Besides, it is already popular as millions and growing are already using it.

      • says

        Agree, Sir Vic!

        But from our end, it’s just a little too cumbersome, a little too inefficient to justify it as part of our social media marketing campaigns.

        From the experiments we’ve done on FourSquare, there really is no statistically significant difference on the time a regular business would spend on it vis-a-vis other social media marketing platforms.

        Still, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Brands and businesses should waste no time in building a presence within its relatively thriving community. If these companies will invest now, they’re likely to taste success when FourSquare booms.

        We always appreciate the people who’ve the foresight to look into platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest and in this case, FourSquare. When these platforms do make the mainstream, these people are already titans in their niches (at least inside these platforms).

        Sorry for the long post. :)

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