Monday, August 1, 2011

I am an Official Foursquare Creeper

Last night a friend of mine asked if I would like to grab a drink at a bar all of our friends frequent. Despite my fatigue from a long weekend I agreed.

As I pulled up to Anna Liffey's and parked my car I immediately took out my phone to check into the establishment on Foursquare (I don't get very good service downstairs). As I began to accumulate my points I saw that my friend checked into another place that we frequent, Gourmet Heaven. Wondering why he was there and not at Liffey's, I decided to take a walk down the street to see him.

I walked into Gourmet Heaven and walked down the aisles of imported food and drink searching for my friend. Confused, and slightly disappointed that I couldn't share half of whatever he bought, I walked back down the street to Anna's.

As I walked down the stairs I saw him sitting right at the end of the bar. "Jason! I totally just walked to Gourmet because you were checked in there!"

As soon as I said it I knew...I had become a Foursquare creeper.

A better definition of a Foursquare creeper would be someone who uses the app to find where people are and then go to that place. Granted, Jason and I already had plans to meet so I think my creepiness was on a lesser degree (at least, that's what I tell myself) but it was still apparent nonetheless.

After I found Jason we began chatting with the owner of the bar, Patrick. Patrick overheard us talking about checking into places and questioned us on it. We began to explain:

Me: "Checking in comes from this social media app called Foursquare. People check into places to accumulate points and it becomes a game for friends to try and get as many points as possible to beat each other. And you try to become mayors of places!"

Jason: "But it's also a really great social networking tool for businesses. A lot of places will have specials or incentives to get people to enter their business. For example, Starbucks will give the mayor a free cup of coffee as a way to keep them coming. It also is a way for other patrons to try and become mayor to get the free coffee. On the app it shows a list of specials in the area that people can browse."

Patrick at this point looks utterly confused. I take out my phone.

Me: "Here, look." I open up the Foursquare app on my phone and click "Places." At the bottom of the screen there is an orange bar that says "27 Specials Nearby." I click it. A new screen opens up and I show Patrick the businesses that are using and promoting items on Foursquare. I happen to see that Koji will give a free scorpion bowl to the mayor of it's restaurant. I make a mental note to myself.

I give Patrick my phone and he begins to scroll through the specials. He peers over his glasses and, although he still looks confused, I see him taking note of some of the other local bars in the area that are utilizing the app.

Foursquare is getting more popular especially among businesses. I know when I'm new to an area I look at the specials on Foursquare to see if I can benefit from anything. Couple that with Urbanspoon or Yelp and I'm completely covered with restaurants and other businesses.

I highly suggest that you and your business use Foursquare if you aren't already. It's a great way to retain customers and to entice new ones. And the next time you're in New Haven, check to see if you can grab a free pint at Anna Liffey's.