How To Use Foursquare for Business

Launched in 2009, Foursquare is a location-based social game that uses a ‘check in’ concept. The site allows people to discover new venues and share them with their friends, while earning badges and mayorships.

Foursquare lets you check into venues all over the world, leave reviews, upload photos, as well as compete with your friends. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the ‘check in’, it is form of telling all your friends on your social networks that you are in a particular venue!

The Facts:

  1. Foursquare now has more than 20 million users
  2. Over Billion Check-ins so far
  3. 2 Million Check-ins a day
  4. 750,000+ businesses using the Merchant Platform

These statistics make Foursquare a hugely effective social media marketing tool for bars, restaurants and hotels. However, If you’re still wondering, why bother? Let me tell you a little story...

Upon meeting with a restaurant manager, I told him the importance of Foursquare for venues. The manager replied ‘Why should I bother spending time talking to people who are playing a silly game on their phone?’ to which I responded “You should spend time on them because they are loyal customers who are continuing to spend money in your venue, and, at the same time they are spreading the word to their friends, saying how great it is” - The venue is now using Foursquare!

Understanding the benefits of Foursquare is all well and good, but what if you simply don’t understand how to use the interactive site from a business side? Not to worry, much like my previous resource on How To Use Twitter, I’m going to run you through the basics of how to use Foursquare, so you can implement it within your social media marketing strategy!

Creating A Foursquare Account

The first step is to sign-up for an account on Foursquare. If you already have an account please skip this step.

Step 1. Go to and click ‘sign up’ in top right hand corner


Step 2. Once you have clicked sign-up you will see a screen with this message. 'The best and most recommended way to sign-up to Foursquare is by pulling in your Facebook information.' Click sign-up with Facebook and sign in.

Step 3. Fill out your email and password and click join.

Claiming Your Business

Adding or claiming your business to Foursquare is the first step to benefit from the craze! There’s 5 simple steps you have to do...

Step 1. On the main Foursquare homepage click ‘Business’ on the right hand side.



Step 2. Once you have reached the business page, go to claim your venue. First search for your venue in the ‘Step 1’ box and once you find it, click through to the venue’s page.



Step 3. We will talk you through the venue page later on. First claim your venue by clicking on ‘claim here’ button on the bottom right of the page.



Step 4. On the Claim page, click the tick on the 'terms of use' and then click the green ‘Get Started’. Please note it costs a $10 verification fee to claim your venue.


Step.5 Finally enter a phone number so Foursquare can call you and verify that you are a manager/owner of the venue. Make sure to use a phone number that is registered to the establishment not a mobile - Then you’re all set!

Foursquare Venue Page

The Foursquare ‘venue page’ gives a full summary of an establishment. This includes information about the number of check ins, the mayor of the venue, as well as the address and contact information. Simply search for your venue in the box at the top.

The venue page also pulls in any photos uploaded on Foursquare and any tips that have been left. The overview will also generate trends on what people have talked about the most in their tips!


Business Foursquare Page

Once you have claimed your venue on Foursquare, you will have access to the Managers dashboard, which you will now see in the toolbar. Once clicked, you will see a quick summary of all your venues, the check-in details and the Mayor.


If you click on your venue name (which is highlighted in blue) you will see a full managers summary of your establishment. This includes statistics and graphs of your customer activity, as well as top and most recent visitors.


This information will include:

  1. Daily check-ins
  2. Most recent visitors
  3. Most frequent visitors
  4. Breakdown of customers gender
  5. What time people are checking in

This page will also show information on any campaigns that are active.

Running a Foursquare Campaign

With millions of people using Foursquare it has the potential to help attract new customers and keep your loyal fans coming back. A great way to boost business through this application is to run a campaign with a ‘‘Special’, these help you engage and interact with the public encouraging them to become loyal customers. Why not offer a little incentive to those who check in? Not only will this help encourage them to come back but they are also likely to tell their friends about it.


Step 1. Click Manger tools on the blue toolbar at the top, then click the ‘campaigns’ tab and click the green ‘Start a campaign’


Examples of a ‘Special’ campaign could include:

  1. Offering new customers a free drink or dessert on their check-in
  2. Rewarding customer loyalty, such as giving the mayor 20% of the bill or a free drink, or perhaps rewarding customers with a free main course on their 5th check in.
  3. Why not reward a group of friends for all checking in with a ‘friends special’ such as checking in with 3 friends and getting a free dessert each.

Step 2. Whatever you decide, select the type of offer you would like and click Next step.


Step 3. Next select the terms of the offer.


Step 4. Finally give your offer a description and add any ‘terms and conditions’ to your offer. Then you are ready to launch your campaign!

Foursqure Put To Great Use 



Chilis’s Grill and Bar were one of the first companies to realise the potential of Foursqaure and were quick to use it to help boost their footfall. In 2010 they launched a campaign that offered free tortillas and salsa when you checked in.

Once a customer had checked in they would alert all their friends not only of where they were, but also the great deal they received. One of the best things about this promotion was the accessibility; the customer could put in minimal effort and still receive a nice reward.


Angelo and Maxie’s Steakhouse, in New York, have earned an estimated return of investment of $18,000 from their Foursquare campaign.In a city full of restaurants and steakhouses Angelo and Maxie’s needed to stand out from the crowd. 

In 45 days the steakhouse managed to utilize Foursqaure with 400 people unlocking the check in special. What is equally as impressive is that 60% of the participants were first time users of Foursquare. The venue achieved such a large audience by running a very simple yet tempting offer, for every entrée brought you would also get a free desert.