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Four Big Brands Making Big Use of Foursquare

Emily Johnson

Foursquare, a location-based social networking platform, has been making a splash since its 2009 inception. At the beginning of the year foursquare released its very own infographic highlighting the company’s enormous growth. In 2010 alone, foursquare grew an unprecedented 3400 percent, with “check-ins” in every single country on the globe, and even one from space.

A few weeks ago, foursquare rolled out a completely revamped version of their popular mobile app that works on virtually any smartphone device, making it extremely accessible to all smartphone users, which is key since global smartphone use is on the rise.

The latest update involved the addition of foursquare self-serve Pages where brands can create their own Page, gain followers, share Tips, check in, and interact with fans. More than 300 big-name brands have signed on to foursquare’s Pages.

In honor of foursquare’s redesign that made the application much more user-friendly, here are four examples of brands utilizing this extremely effective and interactive social networking platform.

  1. Walgreens – Walgreens is one of my personal favorite examples of how big brands are utilizing foursquare. The company stays engaged by offering fans more than 500 Tips ranging from ways to stay safe during flu season to how to take a great sunset picture. Moreover, Walgreens makes great use of foursquare’s Special feature. Last Friday, Walgreens offered consumers a chance to win a $100 gift card with every Walgreens check-in. I won’t lie; I made a special trip to the store just to see if I would win. I didn’t, but Walgreens did get my business on Friday, which otherwise would not have happened.


  1. Redbox – I don’t mean to continually toot Walgreen’s horn, but recently Redbox offered a Free Movie Monday for any check-in to Redbox at a Walgreens location. This got movie-goers to the Redbox retail site to claim their free rental. And, it got those same users back a second time, 24 hours later, to return their Redbox rental. Even better, according to Adam Kmiec, Head of Social Media at Walgreen’s, prior to this program, foursquare did not allow Redbox locations to be official business locations with business management tools. This initiative was a marketer’s dream – it is measureable and drove customers to the store.


  1. ESPN – Another effective way brands can encourage interaction and gain foursquare fans is by offering Badges. Badges are a fun way to encourage users to check in to your venue or follow your Page. A few days ago, ESPN created a new badge, only available to their super-fan followers. Diehard sports fan can unlock the ESPN Foam Finger badge by following ESPN and checking in to three sports stadiums. Foam Finger badge winners can then “paint their chest” with their favorite team’s colors to show all of their followers their team spirit. So far, ESPN’s Page has over 12,500 Followers and a wealth of useful Tips for fans.


  1. Pepsi – Users that unlock the Pepsi Summer Fun Badge will be eligible to win tickets and a trip to an MLB World Series game, $500 gift cards, and Summer Party kits from Pepsi. Interested foursquare users just have to follow Pepsi’s Page and check-in to summer-related venues in the U.S. Most avid foursquare users are already checking-in to these types of locations, which include beaches and parks. Although users are not encouraged to purchase anything to enter, unlike Walgreens or Redbox, this feature does a great job of building brand awareness and increasing interaction between Pepsi and its fan base.

Foursquare isn’t limited to big brands, though. Small businesses can make great use of this platform as well by offering specials or freebies for frequent check-ins. Now that Groupon is integrated in foursquare, there is even more reason that small businesses offering a Groupon should have a foursquare presence.

I’d love to hear your comments about foursquare. Do you love it or hate it? What are some other brands that have a stellar presence on foursquare? How can small businesses make use of foursquare Pages?