Periodically I like to share my thoughts on the role of social media platforms in driving business visibility. One that I am very intrigued with right now is the foursquare mobile app.

Using a phone or mobile device, the foursquare app allows individuals to “check in” and voluntarily share their locations during the day with business colleagues, friends and family. Foursquare uses your phone’s location service to make it easy to choose where you are, no matter where that might be.

Every time you check-in to a location you receive points and sometimes “badges” and even rewards or discounts for your check-in. It’s fun and provides a modest feeling of instant gratification.

I frequently travel all over the world and this platform also allows me to share my favorite sites, restaurants and other adventures. From downtown Appleton, to San Francisco, to Recife, Brazil, or even Faro, Portugal, foursquare makes it fun to communicate through comments from friends and family, and even link photos from wherever I happen to be.

Using this new social media platform there are many novel opportunities that are being explored by businesses or brand owners. Foursquare offers many tools and formats that can be leveraged to attract new customers and keep them engaged.

As one example, History Channel has partnered with Foursquare to deliver facts and tips about historical places. A Foursquare badge has even been created to encourage people to explore historical locations like London. More than 10,000 people were awarded the badge the first month and through this, History Channel was able to enhance their brand equity and communication with their followers.

Late last year, RadioShack conducted a nationwide campaign with Foursquare. As you can imagine, Foursquare’s users are more preferential purchasers of higher value devices and accessories and have been documented as spending 350 percent more in store than the average RadioShack customer.

On Black Friday, as a positive, healthy way to help attract these customers, RadioShack encouraged Foursquare users to do “So Right” activities like eating healthy, exercising, volunteering and then checking into a local RadioShack to unlock their “So Right” badge. For several weeks, for every badge that was unlocked, RadioShack donated $1 to Livestrong.

Other organizations have also leveraged this social media platform on Black Friday for inbound marketing opportunities. Retailers increased their visibility by allowing their followers to check in at their shopping location and receive discounts and even free merchandise. For example if you checked in at Payless Shoes or Sports Authority stores on Black Friday, you were offered discounts or gift cards based on your level of purchase.

American Express has set up an arrangement with Foursquare for many exclusive specials. Cardmembers can connect their card with their Foursquare account and enjoy coupon-free savings at selected retailers and restaurants. It’s a hassle-free way to save, and once set up only requires checking-in and using your card at the venue.

Since its creation only a few years ago, Foursquare continues to get more and more popular. That’s understandable as it is easy to use, fun, keeps you in touch with your colleagues, friends and family, and using it can even save you money.

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