This upcoming Foursquare Day meetup in Kalamazoo is going to be bigger and better than last year, especially with the growing number of businesses that have grown their participation with Foursquare and the growing number of users locally. Last year we went to several businesses to campaign to business owners that they should participate in Foursquare and why it is a benefit to their overall business. We ended up encouraging 25 businesses to sign up for Foursquare and 14 of those offered specials on Foursquare Day itself (check out our recap here).

If you are in a city where not many businesses are participating, consider signing up to be a Foursquare Ambassador and once approved they will send you these gorgeous stack of ambassador cards (pictured on right) with instructions on how to claim your business on Foursquare that you can give out to businesses. These cards were cool to hand out to businesses however it was truly taking the time to sit down with the business owner to show them on my laptop and smartphone what exactly it is to truly show what impact it could do. If you are impatient waiting to get approval or to get the cards, make your own. I ran out of these cards and started making it similar to the original using the same custom URL (http://join4sq.com/sarahlwlee) but tweaking it so that business owners would be able to contact me in the future but also add the caveat that I don’t have any monetary interest with Foursquare or a representative of Foursquare and that I am just a volunteer sharing the awesomeness of Foursquare with the business itself.

Prior to embarking on such a campaign here are a key few things you should do first:

  1. Get a couple of people to join you on this campaign so that you can cover more businesses
  2. Understand the process of how to claim a business on Foursquare so that you can explain it to the business owner
  3. Think about some key points of why Foursquare is great from a user’s perspective and also from a business perspective (Check out http://www.aboutfoursquare.com for some handy articles to aid in your key points development)
  4. Research the number of check-ins of the business you’re going to talk to on Foursquare so that you can tell the business owner the traffic in their store from Foursquare users (If it’s a dud or very low check-ins, there’s a reason why and maybe the business might not be a good match or there isn’t a lot of users in your area – but that’s a different campaign)
  5. Have a good 20 second elevator pitch why this is important to you and why it should be important to the business
  6. Call ahead to talk to the business owner to set up a time to meet or stop by the business to find out who the owner is and get their contact info
  7. Make sure you bookmark the pages you want to navigate to on your smartphone or laptop when you do your “show and tell” piece for the business owner and make sure you have good WiFi access when you meet the business owner (having technology go down when you’re trying to persuade someone to use technology is just the worst thing ever – so be prepared!)
  8. Extra mile prep: Do a PowerPoint presentation with screen shots – this can be helpful when you might not  have WiFi access during the meeting

If you did all seven, then you are all set for your first meeting with a business owner to talk about Foursquare. If you did all eight, well… great job! Most importantly, let your enthusiasm and passion for Foursquare pour out of you as you talk to the business owner. Passion truly steals the show every time and a great way to win the attention of the business owner. After all, why wouldn’t you be passionate about it if you got this far in preparing yourself with all this Foursquare knowledge? You are not getting paid to do this for Foursquare, you are doing it because Foursquare is a great mobile app that helped you explore your community and bridge friendships. Getting a business on  Foursquare just further enhances your experience as a user as well as other fans of Foursquare, more specifically when they offer loyalty benefits or check-in specials. The business owner benefits from customer loyalty and repeat business, you benefit as a consumer of getting great rewards and deals.

Overall, don’t sweat it. You don’t need to start a business to do this full time. You just need passion, enthusiasm and a little prep time to spread the word on Foursquare and what better time than now before Foursquare Day. It’s a great way to gear up for it and get the business community involved in the celebration. If you ever need to bounce ideas or just want to explore how to do this, tweet me at @sarahlwlee and I would be more than happy to talk to you about my experiences working with businesses on Foursquare. Good luck and leave a comment below if you decided to give this a go, I would love to hear how your experiences went.

 

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