Last Updated: October 26, 2015 4

How to Use the Foursquare Application

Found In: Mobile

If you’re into the finer things in life — or just prefer to spend your evenings sat in a good restaurant and not looking for one — then Foursquare is for you. An effortlessly easy website to use, it’s also available in a handy app on your phone and ensures you’re never far away from the best seat in town.

As great as it is for fun seekers and those of us with a traveling habit, the benefits this review website offers local businesses are pretty impressive too. With the ability to target people who otherwise wouldn’t notice you, connect with clients and run adverts on a whole new channel, getting to grips with Foursquare could provide a real boost to your business.

So what is it?

Designed to make planning your evening (or day) a breeze, Foursquare.com is the technological equivalent of a local guide. Just tell it what you want and where you are and it’ll provide an endless (well, almost) supply of bars, clubs, coffee shops, shopping outlets, family days out and more. Whether you’re looking for the best coffee in a new city, to discover somewhere fun in your home-town, or planning a weekend away with a group of friends, foursquare.com is the website (and app) for you.

Way back when, Foursquare was more of a social media channel — in some circles, it created quite a buzz, with people making a point of ‘checking-in’ wherever they went and battling to be the most frequent customer (a.k.a ‘mayor’) of a location. Now it’s ditched the ‘check-in’ option and is more of a review site, but it has hooked up with Facebook so you can still share any gems you discover, check out your friend’s favorite places and, if you’re using the app, instantly see the kind of venues near wherever you happen to be.

Top tips for using Foursquare

For users, Foursquare.com has many great qualities, the best being that it doesn’t put you through a lengthy sign-up procedure to use it. Simply navigate to the website from any browser and you’re good to go.

From there you can search for every kind of distraction you can think of (or check out ‘Top Picks’ if you’re stuck for ideas). Explore venues via reviews, pictures and your Facebook friends’ preferences to decide how you want to spend your time. And you’re not limited to searches by your current location either. Going to be in New York in three weeks? No problem. You can still have a virtual poke around, discover the best restaurant and book a table way in advance. That kind of organization is sure to impress your traveling companions!

Foursquare for Business

So what if you happen to own one of these top hangouts, family spots or hidden gems? For business owners, Foursquare.com provides a wealth of benefits. Not only is it fantastic at boosting your visibility and increasing footfall, it also allows you to communicate directly with your customer base. By providing real-time feedback and reviews, Foursquare helps you monitor your success and identify any problems (and successes) as they arise. It even provides you with tools to join in the conversation, so you can establish your business as a personal, approachable and friendly venue.

How to list your business on Foursquare.com

Foursquare’s been around for a while, and it’s got a pretty good handle on all the venues in most of the big cities. As such, there’s every possibility your business is already up there. If that’s the case, all you need to do is claim it.

Claiming a business on Foursquare

To claim your business, visit the claims page and enter your business name and location into the boxes, then select your business from the list provided.

Validating your business on Foursquare

To stop just anyone from claiming your business, Foursquare will require validation. You will be asked to supply a phone number and will receive an automated call asking you to state your name, business name and your relationship to it. Once you’ve completed this step, you’ll receive a four-digit verification code that you’ll be asked to enter during the call.

Now, this is just the first step (which is a relief, because anyone could trick an automated phone service). You now have the option of two further verification methods. Either opt for postal verification, which is free but can take up to four weeks (Foursquare send you a postcard with further instructions in the mail), or you can plump for the more expensive ‘Instant verification’ method.

Instant verification happens (you guessed it) instantly, but does require a one-time charge of $20 to be made to a credit or debit card in your name. Once that’s been sorted then you’re all done and ready to go.

You can claim a further eight locations using this method. If you have ten or more sites, you’ll need the slightly more officious looking form for chains, which can be found here.

Adding a business to Foursquare

If you couldn’t find your business listed on Foursquare already, then you’ll need to add it with this form. Just follow the step-by-step instructions and you’ll be up and running on Foursquare in no time.

Benefits of claiming your Foursquare listing

Up and running quickly is what you want, because Foursquare offers all kinds of benefits to local business owners. Once you’ve claimed a listing, you can add opening times, change the business name and add additional locations. You can also create special offers for new customers or those who visit regularly (you’re allowed to run up to two specials per location), post tips to your clients and run adverts.

Advertising on Foursquare

A Foursquare advertisement gives your business top billing on listings. Targeting the perfect customer — someone in your area actively searching for a business like yours — Foursquare advertising is the holy grail of marketing. Especially since it works on a pay per click basis, with businesses only charged when someone clicks on their advert and views their listing. If you don’t decide to advertise on Foursquare, your listing will still be visible, it’ll just be a bit further down the page.

With it’s easy-to-use interface, growing popularity and an engaged, active community dedicated to reviewing all kinds of entertainment venues, Foursquare is fast becoming a force to be reckoned with. Whether you’re an intrepid explorer looking for something to do in a new city or a local business open to being discovered, this handy service is happy to help.