The location-based social networking platform Foursquare
has been making a splash since its 2009 inception. In 2010 alone, the company grew an unprecedented 3,400 percent, with “check-ins” in every single country on the globe and even one from space, according to this infographic
A few weeks ago, Foursquare rolled out a completely revamped version of its popular mobile app that works on virtually any smartphone device, making it extremely accessible to all smartphone users—a key move since global smartphone use
is on the rise.
The latest update involved the addition of Foursquare self-serve pages, in which brands can create their own page, gain followers, share tips, check in, and interact with fans. More than 300 big-name brands have signed on to Foursquare’s pages.
In honor of Foursquare’s redesign that made the application much more user friendly, here are four examples of brands using this extremely effective and interactive social networking platform.
is one of my favorite examples of how big brands are using Foursquare. The company offers fans more than 500 tips ranging from ways to stay safe during flu season to how to take a great sunset picture. Walgreens also makes great use of Foursquare’s special
Last Friday, the company offered consumers a chance to win a $100 gift card with every Walgreens check-in. I won’t lie; I made a special trip to the store just to see if I would win. I didn’t win, but Walgreens did get my business on Friday, which otherwise would not have happened.
I don’t mean to continually toot Walgreens’ horn, but recently Redbox
offered a Free Movie Monday for any check-in to Redbox at a Walgreens location. This got moviegoers to the Redbox retail site to claim their free rental. And it got those same users back a second time, 24 hours later, to return their Redbox rental.
Even better, Foursquare did not allow Redbox locations to be official business locations with business management tools prior to this effort, according to Adam Kmiec
, head of social media at Walgreens. This initiative was a marketer’s dream—it is measureable and drove customers to the store.
Another effective way brands can encourage interaction and gain Foursquare fans is by offering badges
. Badges are a fun way to encourage users to check in to your venue or follow your Page. A few days ago, ESPN
created a new badge that’s only available to their super-fan followers. Diehard sports fan can unlock the ESPN Foam Finger badge by following ESPN and checking in to three sports stadiums. Foam Finger badge winners can then “paint their chest” with their favorite team’s colors to show all of their followers their team spirit. So far, ESPN’s Page has over 12,500 followers and a wealth of useful tips
Users that unlock the Pepsi Summer Fun
badge will be eligible to win tickets and a trip to an MLB World Series game, $500 gift cards, and Summer Party kits from Pepsi. Interested Foursquare users just have to follow Pepsi’s page and check in to summer-related venues in the U.S. Most avid Foursquare users are already checking in to these types of locations, which include beaches and parks.
Although users are not encouraged to purchase anything to enter—unlike Walgreens or Redbox—this feature does a great job of building brand awareness and increasing interaction between Pepsi and its fan base.
Of course, Foursquare isn’t limited to big brands. Small businesses can make great use of this platform as well by offering specials or freebies for frequent check-ins. Now that Groupon
is integrated in Foursquare, there is even more reason that small businesses offering a Groupon should have a Foursquare presence.
Emily Johnson is a media relations specialist with Walker Sands. A version of this story appeared on the company’s blog.