foursquare a smart move for your business mediavine marketingYou can dance around it all you like, but if you’re not busting a move and getting your business on Foursquare, you might be moving around with two left feet, while everyone is dancing circles around you. So you think you can Foursquare? Dust off your dancing shoes and let’s see what kind of moves you have.

Anytime you hear the words “8 million users,” the very first thing you should be asking yourself is whether or not your business is among them. Just a year ago, Foursquare had only 1 million users. Rapid growth of that magnitude makes one thing abundantly clear: it’s well worth the time to investigate whether it could be a competitive advantage for your business.

The most recent version of the location-based app, Foursquare 3.0, is making it extremely easy for businesses to jump on board and actively use the platform to market. AND IT’S SCOTT-FREE. Not just kinda free, almost free, or as good as free, but FREE.

With the largest user base next to Facebook places, Foursquare caters to both customers who want to be recognized as well as business that want to know who their most loyal friends are. It’s like two ships in the night in search of each other – at long last their eyes meet across the expanse of the dance floor – and the tango begins. Want to make sure your business fills its dance card? Take these suggestions when setting up your Foursquare account:

Start by “claiming your venue.” That is, take your flag that reads “I’m am XYZ Business, hear me roar,” and create the venue you rightfully own. Has someone already set up a location bearing your address and name? Well, if it’s you, and you know it’s you, prove that you own it (if it is indeed yours and someone didn’t just open a business with the same name right next to you – awkward!) If it’s not you, open a new venue by clicking on “Add a new venue to Foursquare,” at the bottom of the page. The wizard will show you how to fill out the rest. Click on “claim here” on the venue page to draw your line in the sand. During the set-up process, some of the questions you can anticipate are: Is this a chain? Are you authorized to claim this venue? Then, you’ll be asked to verify your ownership by phone or mail. Once verified, you’ll receive a window cling for your business that will let everyone know you are a Foursquare establishment (if not a five star!)

I’m Set Up…Now What?
Reward loyal customers, retain loyal customers, loyal customers tell friends, friends become new loyal customers. Beauty. The wizard will help you create specials for your friends. Here’s a couple of specials you can run:

Swarm Special
Sounds like bees to honey – and that’s what you want surrounding your business…well, not bees, but BUZZ! A special of this kind kicks in when a predetermined number of people check in to your location. Ex. When 15 people are checked in at your widget store, you can give away a free widget.

Friends Special
It’s the buddy system gone social. This rewards friends who check in together. Your business can specify the number of friends who need to checked in together, as well as what they will receive for checking in.

Flash Special
This isn’t an X-rated special, even though it’s rewarding to the first X people who check in at X time. This is an ideal special for the slow days and hours you notice at your place of business.

Newbie Special
Not as awkward as your first kiss, but hopefully just as memorable! This special rewards those who check in to your business for the first time.

Check-In Special
Overstocked an item, or just feeling generous? This special rewards every checkin. Think free soda or discounted soda at a restaurant.

Loyalty Special
What make a friend loyal? Is it the fourth, fifth or sixteenth checkin? You decide what loyal means, and when a customer checks in that amount of times, you drop the balloons and break out the kazoos!

Mayor Special
In Foursquare, the mayor is one governmental body that will always look out for you! A mayor is the person who has checked into a venue more than anyone else. In other words, your best and most loyal customer. You can reward this person with anything from a t-shirt to a trip, if you want to. You’d be surprised to see the turf wars that can occur when mayorship is at stake. Competing to be your mayor – that’s one race you win hands down.

Now, Crunch the Numbers
Analytics are available through Foursquare’s dashboard, so you can review the amount of check-in you’re getting daily, including the time of day, and both the gender and ages of your customers! In addition, you’ll find a list of your top visitors in the past 60 days, as well as your most recent customers, including their Twitter handle, so you have effectively collected a targeted marketing list of buyers you can seek for repeat business.

For a platform that’s free, you are definitely the belle of the ball when it comes to Foursquare. You can’t ask for a better partner. Your dance card is full and your toes will never be stepped on!