Since when was four square anything more than chalk squares and a rubber ball?

By Jeff Ballif, Intern (@jeffballif)

Social media isn’t all about pictures and status posts – it’s also about location. Perhaps one of the most well-known geo-location social media platforms is Foursquare. Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying it out for myself. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’ve discovered that it’s both a fun application for users and a valuable tool for businesses.

As I’ve been out and about in New York City, I’ve taken note of the wide variety of listings on Foursquare. From restaurants to hotels, subway stations to parks and even individual taxi cabs, the Foursquare check-in points are seemingly endless.

One night, I went out to meet a friend for dinner in SoHo. I logged on to my Foursquare account and noticed that a local ice cream shop had a slick deal for Foursquare users who checked in at the restaurant. The next day, I saw that a local coffee shop near Times Square that offered $1 off for Foursquare users. On my way home I spotted a restaurant in the Upper West Side advertising a free appetizer for whoever becomes the next mayor of that location. These are just a couple examples of the many businesses I saw that use Foursquare for marketing.

Another helpful component to Foursquare is the ‘tips’ section where users can post reviews about listed locations. It can be a simple heads up about bad service or a quick recommendation for tasty dessert.

Ultimately, Foursquare is simply a fun application for users that doesn’t have much use other than letting your friends know where you are, meeting new people or discovering new restaurants and social hotspots. For businesses however, Foursquare is another avenue that can be an effective way to get the company name in the social media atmosphere and bring in more customers.

(Confused by what checking-in or being a mayor means? Check out the help page.)

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