Are You Checked In?

Social media has created a new obsession with knowing what everyone else is doing and where they are at all times. Foursquare takes this obsession to a whole new level. Users of Foursquare check in to various places, comment on their service or products with tips for other users, post pictures, and gather points to become the “mayor” of their favorite restaurants or stores. There are currently over 25,000,000 people who use Foursquare to connect to places and over 1,000,000 businesses.

ImageBusinesses take advantage of this social media site in order to brand themselves and attract new customers. Foursquare offers several free methods to improve the buzz about a brand. A business can create updates to local users by uploading pictures of specials or events that are taking place at their location. They can also offer discounts specifically to users. For example, Chick-fil-a offers free chicken minis the first time you check in. Some local businesses offer 10% discounts on the first purchase. Sports, non-profits, entertainment, and music can also utilize Foursquare to get their name out to potential fans. The television network Bravo has a page to share tips from individual Bravolebrity’s about locations they frequent.

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Although many businesses benefit from using Foursquare, there is also a risk of costumer’s damaging your reputation. Users can leave tips for their friends or strangers about whether or not the product is good. This uncontrolled form of advertising can be very dangerous. On Best Buy’s page, tips range from “make sure the people who work there know what they’re talking about. The TV department there lacks in this area” to “Dig the environment!!” Tips left by customers can be read by anyone looking at your page and have the ability to either damage or build your reputation. Businesses are unable to defend themselves or respond to these tips.

Businesses considering joining the Foursquare network must weigh the pros and cons and consider the risk of bad tips. With over 25,000,000 users and growing, businesses can get their brand spread to new and potential customers and create hype about exclusive Foursquare discounts. Do you think it is worthwhile for businesses to jump on the Foursquare band wagon?

Jessie Butner, Meaghan Beam, Zach Abramo, Jack Lane