Like a journey to far-off lands of unknowns, restaurants are entering this new age of marketing with blinders — they’re in business to run a restaurant and produce delectable food, not serve (pun intended) as marketing professionals. Fortunately, this article will cut out a slice of the research pizza pie and provide you with tips on marketing to locals via Foursquare… Four Square? What’choo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
Foursquare is a website that allows registered users to “check in” at venues thus notifying friends of one’s location. For example, if I visit Schoenberger’s Smokehouse in Los Angeles, CA I can clue friends to my whereabouts and what I’m up to. Checking in updates Facebook, Twitter, and of course Foursquare friends/followers of one’s status and a message can be attached (e.g. Aaron’s smoked ribs are amazing).
The user who checks into a location most often can become the location’s mayor. According to Foursquare: “You can become the ‘mayor’ of a venue by checking in there on more days than anyone else over a 60 day period. Venue owners often reward foursquare mayors with discounts or giveaways.” Mayors are, in other words, “influencers” and the epitome of a regular customer.
When it comes to monetizing Foursquare and utilizing the platform to its full potential, restaurants must understanding the compounding benefits of taking a hit now for exposure and profits later. Offering discounts to Mayors and other visitors drastically, and instantly, boosts online exposure.
My suggestion for restaurants around the world: Run a promotion based on Foursquare that offers discounts for checking in. For example, any bill over $25 receives an automatic $5 discount if the customer checks into Foursquare. Who in their right mind would turn down a $5 discount for 10 seconds of their time? And, imagine what having 20 or even 100 diners checking into Foursquare per night could do. Mucho exposure I tell you.
In conclusion, Foursquare is an excellent tool for restaurant Social Media marketing and, if used properly, will produce tangible results. The goal is to engage customers in the social world and convert them from visitors to powerful marketing tools.
Aaron Schoenberger is Founder of The Brainchild Group — a top online advertising agency that specializes in professional Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media marketing. He’s known for his work with celebrity clients, top restaurants, professional athletes and Fortune 500 companies. Feel free to Contact Us for more information.