Mayors, badges, tips, specials, points… I can see how it could be confusing for a newcomer. But Foursquare is something worth figuring out. If you’re a business owner, using Foursquare can provide another platform in which you can draw in customers. If you’re a shopper, Foursquare directs you to the best places, products, and deals. It is a hub of information and opportunity if used correctly. So let me break it down for you…
One of the most fundamental actions of using Foursquare is checking into places. Basically, if there’s a place, someone has probably created it’s equivalent on Foursquare. All you do is find your place, and click “Check In.” Other options include sharing your check ins with Facebook and Twitter, but I advise you to use these options sparingly. No one wants to know everything you’re doing all the time, and you probably don’t want to invite stalkers if your profiles are public… Other people can comment your check ins, and you can upload pictures to places you’ve checked in. Foursquare is really a lot like Facebook, but it’s niche is location-based social media.
Being the Mayor
Foursquare is first and foremost about brag rights. Being the mayor means that people see your picture and name pop up every time they check into a place you’re the mayor of. It can help you build a reputation for yourself in a community among other Foursquare members; if you’re mayor of a lot of academic buildings, you must be involved and studious. If you’re mayor of a lot of bars… you like to have fun (maybe at the expense of studying). So it might be worth being selective of what you strive to be the mayor of.
Badges are basically proof that you get out and do various activities. Each badge is centered around a certain activity… whether it be academic, entertainment, food, drink… you get the idea. My campus has it’s own badge you can earn after checking into certain places. The more badges you have, the more you obviously use Foursquare.
Points are probably the most blatantly competitive part of Foursquare. There’s a scoreboard that pits you against your friends, and there’s an all time high score that you can try to beat for yourself. Other than that, they don’t serve much of a purpose.
Specials are one of my favorite parts of Foursquare. They are little known and under utilized. One special almost anyone, anywhere, can use is a special for free chips and salsa at Chili’s. All you have to do is check in! In my college town, there are a lot of bar and food specials – either a free item or a percentage off of your bill. Specials are denoted by an orange rectangle that says “Special” when you check into a place. You can also find them under the “Explore” tab.
You can leave tips at places you’ve checked in at to warn someone about bad service or praise a place for doing something right. Tips are also a great place to do a little self-promotion. If you’re the mayor of a place, your tips pop out at people when your friends check in.
Annnnd those are the basics of using Foursquare. Do you have any tips or tricks for the Foursquare beginner? Or any questions for how to get the most out of it?