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Foursquare is a location-based social network. You can think of it as Twitter with GPS. It takes all the things everybody loves about social media sites and puts them together into a localized social network. Foursquare has been taking the online world by storm and it’s only getting bigger.

How Does Foursquare Work?

Foursquare has two different purposes. One is to keep in touch with your friends, letting them know where you are. Using a smartphone, it tells your friends where you are in real-time. If you’ve just discovered an awesome hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant nobody knows about, you can tell them all. While Facebook and Twitter tell you what your friends are doing, Foursquare tells you where they’re doing it.

The other purpose is to play games with your friends. You collect points by doing things like being the first to try a new restaurant. If you check in more than anyone else, you can get a badge or become ‘mayor’ of that location. Some businesses make scavenger hunts (called ‘to do lists’) for their loyal customers. These games are rewarded with coupons and other specials.

Foursquare is a little like Groupon in that it offers customers a new, fun way to interact with their favorite businesses. But while Groupon is all about super savings for customers, Foursquare is about customer loyalty.

Foursquare – The New Twitter?

By the close of its first year, Foursquare had already grown to 275,000 users. It took the social media world by storm and shows no sign of slowing down. Now, it’s working on developing its own search algorithms. Its founders say that Google search is too limited. Foursquare saves your search data and gives you personalized, customized search results. The company is pretty ambitious about the site’s future.

Foursquare For Your Business

As a business, you can use Foursquare to deepen your customers’ loyalty. The site offers tools you can use to create your own promotional games that reward them for using your service. Foursquare isn’t a place for you to make money, but a place to give things away. By offering freebies for customers who frequent your business, you get free advertising.

For example, offer special promotions for customers who check in a lot at your business. Once they become ‘mayor,’ offer them incentives for telling other people about you. The service has tools for businesses that you can use to create your own activities, games, and contests.

The first step in using Foursquare is to find your business on the site and claim it. On the website it walks you through the steps to do this. Once you’ve claimed it and updated your information, you’ll have to verify that you’re the owner. After this, you can use the service to create your specials.