I can’t tell exactly why more local businesses aren’t using Foursquare, but I imagine it has to do with not understanding Foursquares potential.

Image Credit: http://foursquare.com

The lack of knowledge with this not too new (debuted in March of 2009) social media tool is still huge. Foursquare has 8 million people using it worldwide and 250,000 merchants taking advantage of the business platform. At the same time LinkedIn has 100 million users and 2 million businesses worldwide that have a company page.

Owners need to be aware that they can reward customers for loyalty, for simply visiting their business or attending a special event. Not only will this promote positive views when it comes to your business but positive word of mouth.

Business owners I am telling you it is simple and free to claim your business on Foursquare. In two weeks or less you can start posting specials and rewarding your customers.

Positive for the Business:

Not only can you reward customers for their business but also receive instant feedback and analytics directly from and about said customers.
* Total daily check-ins over time
* Your most recent visitors
* Your most frequent visitors
* Gender breakdown of your customers
* What time of day people check in
* What share of your venue’s foursquare check-ins are broadcast to Twitter and Facebook

Positive for an individual/customer:

* Receive a certain check-in badge
* Free offers for certain number of check-ins
* Mayors can receive bigger discounts/specials (You become the Mayor if you frequent a location more than anyone else)
* Swag

Here are some of my picks for the best Foursquare deals in Des Moines (Please share more):

Café di Scala – Free desert with purchase of regular entrée
Gusto Pizza Co.- Free fountain drink with purchase of an entrée
The Lift – $1 off your first drink by showing check-in to bartender
Vaudeville Mews – $1 off first drink at concert by showing check-in to bartender

If you own a business or have a client with a brick and mortar location please share the possibilities that Foursquare offers.  This is more than knowing where your friends are at any given time. It is about promoting your business in new instantaneously measurable ways.

-Haley Meckstroth