Using Foursquare and Twitter for Retail and Business Intelligence

by Josh Opinion on April 18, 2011

If I were a brick and mortar retail shop trying to compete with the big boys, here is how I would begin to craft a social media strategy using Foursquare and Twitter.

Understanding How Foursquare Works for Businesses from a Users Perspective

Whether you have a built out Foursquare profile or not, there is a good chance someone is going to check into your store. This post is not meant how to optimize your Foursquare page and channel for your use. This is how to really tap into social media to identify and begin listening to people in your area who check-in and formulate  a social media strategy to engage them.

Foursquare appearance on Twitter Search

I’m not a believer in Facebook check-ins (yet), Gowalla, or Scvngr [don’t get me wrong, I do like what they are trying to do but don’t believe user adoption is at a point where it is useful for a business… yet]. For this strategy post, lets focus solely on Foursquare and how your brand can take advantage of the information that is streaming in real time.

Using Twitter Search for Foursquare Check-ins

Below is a sample search I ran on using the following advanced search string- near:tampa within:10mi “I’m at”

How to use Foursquare and Twitter for Small Business

Foursquare Checkin Search on Twitter

The query is asking Twitter to search for the following parameters:

  • Search for tweets near Tampa
  • Find tweets within a 10mi radius of Tampa
  • Search for the exact phrase “I’m at”
  • Search for the term “”

The first two bullet points flag Twitter to search local. The last two bullet points are static patterns that occur when a checkin is made on Foursquare and syndicated through Twitter ie I’m at restaurant/bar/venue/theatre/etc. (..)

I isolated those two small phrases so we can have a general search constrained to Foursquare checkins.

One person in the sample Twitter search head checked in to the St. Pete Times Forum because there is an NHL Hockey Game going on…

If I was a local sports bar down the street I could tell them a drink is free if they showed a waitress the tweet OR BETTER YET tell him we are down the street and let them know if they DM us we’ll e-mail them a voucher for a free drink and 6 wings. No one really wants to eat alone and they are more likely than not to bring a friend. The customer experience is left for the venue to handle, but they already made it a unique and personal one from understanding.

That search took less than 2 minutes to do and view through. Now let’s take a deeper more analytical look into this one check-in at the St. Pete Times Forum:

118 Check-Ins! Definitely a lot of people on their mobile devices who are interacting with their physical space already – that local sports bar would have a great opportunity to create awareness and create incentives for those people at the hockey game to swing by after the game or stop by later in the week.

This “intelligence” comes from 3 minutes of “work” and was free… Let’s do some simple business questions-

  • How much would you pay to advertise on a bench, flyer, or paper collateral near the St. Pete Times Forum?
  • How much would you pay to know exactly how many social media savvy people are at the St. Pete Times Forum on Monday night for an NHL Playoff Game that you can reach right now on their smart phone?

How have you used Foursquare for intelligence? Leave a comment below…

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