Don’t Overlook FourSquare: Your Secret Marketing Weapon

FourSquare is one of my favorite, and most private, social networks. I don’t let just anyone connect to me, mostly because I’m a little creeped out by the world knowing my every whereabouts. But with FourSquare, you don’t have to check in everywhere you go, and you don’t have to connect it to all your social networks to be effective. You can learn to use it right, and it can be your secret marketing weapon. And you don’t have to tell everyone where you are, every second of the day, to be effective.
Setup your profile correctly to get you off on the right foot – Setting up your FourSquare profile completely is really important. Make sure you use a picture of you smiling. Do not use your business logo (unless you’re planning to give every one on your team access to FourSquare, which I do NOT recommend). Connect it to Twitter and add your business phone number at a minimum. If you allow subscriptions to your Facebook profile, or if you’ll accept any and all friends requests, connect this as well. Doing this allows people to connect with you on other platforms, where you’re much more likely to share things about your business.

Tips are where it’s at – Everywhere you go that you enjoy, leave a nice tip. No, not money silly. What’s good at the place you’re checking in to? Leave a tip. Have a favorite person who works there? Leave a tip. Parking tricky? Leave a tip. The more helpful you are, the more people will see your smiling face, and the more apt they will be to check out your other social media networks.

Photos are critically useful – Take pictures of the surroundings, take pictures of you (and your friends) enjoying the location, take pictures of the food, of the wonderful wait staff, and of the drinks. People love photos, and you can add them easily with the FourSquare app.

Comment on other’s check-ins – If you see someone check in at your favorite place, leave them a comment with a recommendation of what to try, especially if you notice they’ve never been there before. If you see a friend check in at a new place, leave a comment that encourages them to snap a picture or leave a tip about what’s good.

Make lists to engage your friends – and make new friends – If you have 10 favorite places to go, why not group them together in a list. Add a list for your favorite places in a neighborhood, of a favorite type, of places that are “can’t miss” or whatever you want to create. This lets others see, and more importantly follow, your lists.

Tweet and Facebook your check-ins, tips, and badges (sparingly) – Only a FourSquare newbie would share EVERY check-in to their various social networks. But sometimes it’s good to share a check-in with everyone. I recommend doing it for new places that few people have checked in to before you, for really great food, for great service, or for sharing a picture of a really unique feature of a location. I also recommend sharing tips to your other social networks that are funny, insightful, or things that you are 100% sure everyone wants to know.

BONUS for businesses that have a physical location: Don’t forget to add your business to FourSquare and add photos, tips and all connections information there either.

Doing any or all of these tips alone won’t make you rich. But adding FourSquare to your marketing plan and doing these steps will enable others to see you as helpful – and thus think more favorably of you AND your business, making more people aware of your business.

YOUR TURN: What’s YOUR favorite use for FourSquare?

Phil Gerbyshak
Phil Gerbyshak is the CEO of, and he works with people who want to leverage social media into real life connections. He has been working in the social media space since 2005, with a focus on financial advisors, financial planners and others in the financial services industry. Phil has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Financial Times, Investor's Business Daily and many other publications online and offline and is frequently interviewed by those who want to connect more deeply with their customers in meaningful ways.
Phil Gerbyshak

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