Checking In: Foursquare Holds Great Potential for Businesses

Foursquare, which was launched in 2009, allows people with GPS phones to “Check in” from various places. It’s basically a mobile application, part game, part social networking service.

Every time you go out and use Foursquare,you can track your whereabouts and publish them. This tells your friends where you are everytime you “check-in” and let’s you know if other friends are nearby. You accrue points for everything from venturing far from home to trying someplace new. Earn enough points and you’ll unlock badges. Another honor is being the “Mayor” of a certain location. You get the title if you check in to a specific location, say a local coffee shop, the most times, which entitles you to freebies such as a free drink. This location-based social network provides real-life rewards for telling the world where you are. Foursquare is very convenient & fun to use, that’s why many people have this app on their phones and have almost made it a habit to stop what they’re doing and take the time to “check in”.

Foursquare holds great potential for businesses given the fact the it’s widely use. When someone checks-in to a place, specifically your business, establishment or open house, it instantly becomes a word-of-mouth recommendation for you. Businesses should also establish Foursquare profile to set up a reward system for frequent check-ins or “mayors” and offer perks & tokens to entice people who are checkd in nearby. For Realtors, Foursquare is a great way to market yourself as a local expert who gives tips  about the best places and restaurants to visit in a neighborhood and probably things to do in a certain place. Marketing a business is all about being aware of the trends & engagement with your customers. Foursquare is one of the many ways that enables you to do that.


Here’s what Matthew Shadbolt, (Director of Interactive Product & Marketing at The Corcoran Group) have to say about making use of Foursquare as a part of their marketing:

1. Foursquare is a natural extension of what we’ve been doing elsewhere in mobile for location-based marketing. Putting local Corcoran expertise into people’s hands in a venue and time-specific way is an incredibly powerful form of social marketing for us.

2. One of our core brand ideas is that the process of searching for a home is just as much about what’s outside of the 4 walls than it is inside. We believe that the idea of communicating ‘what’s nearby’ is a very powerful way of understanding a neighborhood, and sharing that information within Foursquare has been an exciting way to grow our brand’s presence within mobile platforms.

3. We don’t believe in selling within Foursquare. We do not post open houses or listings, and think that there are ethical issues in posting people’s homes as venues within the service.

4. Unfortunately, we also don’t ‘play’ Foursquare now that we’ve become a brand – for the first 12 months of using Foursquare, we were earning badges and mayorships like regular users, but since we’ve become a ‘brand’ within Foursquare, that part of the platform is no longer available. We’re still able to check in and post photos, but it’s always been about the venue tips for us, not badges or mayorships. Providing helpful information using Foursquare is our focus.

5. One thing we often get asked is why we’re not doing this on Yelp, given Yelp’s much larger user base. The main reason is that in order to post tips within Yelp, you have to be an individual, you can’t do it as a ‘brand’, so it’s tough to replicate our goals in using tip-based location apps if we can’t speak as the brokerage. I’ve seen individual agents have a lot of success within Yelp doing this as themselves though, we just don’t do it as an organization for that reason.

In addition, Foursquare is included in Corcoran’s overall social media agent education programs, and all new agents who join Corcoran are made aware of these initiatives as part of their ongoing efforts to help agents understand how mobile, social and video are part of their digital marketing arsenal.



We would love to hear your thoughts.