You see the value in Foursquare! You want to drive foot traffic with Foursquare Strategy.  You’ve signed up, created a venue, and put the word out to your customers that they can connect with you.


Now comes the fun part: Advanced Foursquare Strategy!

Advanced Foursquare Strategy: The Techniques

Foursquare will help you grab your market by the horns if you know what you’re doing.  If you’re “just dabbling” or “want to give it a try,” you may find yourself with a giant headache and several lost hours. Proper Foursquare strategy requires knowledge of all Foursquare Specials and various promotional techniques as well as a good understanding of customer engagement and the ability to adapt on a dime. We start Foursquare Advanced Strategy by exploring some popular specials.

Flash Special


“Today Only! Buy appetizer and meal, get dessert for free!”

A Flash Special is a limited time offer that can only be redeemed if the customer acts fast.  It’s a wonderful tool for generating excitement and buzz within your network, as well as influencing a turnout at a specific time.

Keep your fans guessing with Flash Specials.  Release different Specials on different days and they’ll constantly be checking your venue for the latest offer.  Or, give them a reliable treat:  make every Tuesday Flash Special day, with a different special to keep them on their toes.  If Tuesday was your slowest day of the week, it won’t be anymore!

Or, you may need instant turnout for one reason or another.  Maybe you want to make your place look popular.  Maybe you want to create a Swarm and generate lots of Foursquare buzz.  A Swarm occurs when a bunch of people check-in to your business at the same time.  Foursquare lets it’s local users know that your business is Swarmed and is a hotspot of activity.  Alerting your fans to a valuable Flash Special is a very effective way of generating a Swarm.

Loyalty Special


“Get 10% off purchase for every third time you check in”

There are already people who visit your business regularly, and you reward them with nothing?!?  With the Loyalty Special, not only can you show some overdue customer appreciation, you can leverage their loyalty into brand promotion.  When other customers see how well loyal customers are treated at your venue, they will become loyal customers as well.

The Loyalty Special is a deal that can be redeemed after a certain number of check-ins.  It’s brilliant in so many ways.  First, it makes loyal customers even more loyal by showing appreciation.  This, in turn, creates more loyal customers. Blue Plate Diner in Newport, Rhode Island, is a great example of a restaurant driving foot traffic through advanced Foursquare strategy like Loyalty Specials.

But the true genius is that it motivates people to check-in every time they visit your business.  If they know that for every 3rd check-in they can earn or save something, they will always remember to check-in even if they’re in a rush.   Your business will get 2-3 times as many check-ins if implemented properly.

It is best to make the offer on a Loyalty Special of moderate value.  It needs to be big enough to elicit check-ins without tossing the baby out with the bathwater.  Don’t be afraid to give a really good deal here.  Remember, your getting multiple visits at the price of a discount on just one.

Be sure to include some way to prove they actually bought something, like having them take a picture of their meal or product with their check-in.


Friends Special

“Get x amount of friends to check in with you, get 15% off combined purchase”

Once you have loyal customers, get their friends.  The Friends Special is redeemed when a certain amount of friends check-in with your customer.  The discount more than pays for itself by turning one customer into multiple customers.

If you’re a restaurant, you’ve just turned a single at the bar into a four-top! Whenever this group of friends goes out to eat, they are more likely to eat at your venue and save money.  Even better, it not only gets your loyal customers to convince their friends to come, but they’re telling people that you’re on Foursquare and how they can save by connecting with you! A great Win-Win!


Mayor Special

If implemented the right way at the right time, the Mayor Special can easily be one of the most effective.  A Mayor Special is given to the Mayor of a venue.  One becomes the Mayor by checking-in at a venue more than anyone else within 60 days.

Timing is crucial with this Special.  If implemented before you’ve grown your Foursquare network sufficiently, you will have few check-ins and anyone can easily obtain and hold the Mayor position.  The Mayor Special is most effective when you can generate a lot of competition around it.

Two ways to ensure its effectiveness are:

1. Don’t create a Mayor Special until you have a decent amount of active Foursquare followers.

2. Make the Mayor Special worth having by offering a huge discount or special privileges.  When you have a sizeable group of customers vying for the coveted Mayor position, you’ll generate maximum business at minimal cost.

You now know enough Advanced Foursquare Strategy to start experimenting.  It’s up to you to get creative and implement these specials effectively.

For more Advanced Foursquare Techniques, stay tuned for our “Advanced Foursquare Strategy: Part 2″ article, or feel free to Contact BJC.

Jake Burns