There are now over 20 million Foursquare users worldwide, with about 10 million of those users in the United States. Because it is one of the newest social networking websites, not all attorneys are familiar with how to use Foursquare. If you don't know a Foursquare superuser from a Foursquare mayor, this guide can help to answer your most frequently asked questions. You'll learn not only how you can use Foursquare as an individual, but also how Foursquare users can actually provide a valuable source of new business for your firm.
What is Foursquare?
Foursquare is an innovative application that allows users to “check in” at their location at any time, using a phone with GPS (global positioning system) capabilities. Because smartphones are becoming increasingly popular, Foursquare users are signing up for the system every day.
As you check into places using your account, you can actually obtain discounts to the places you're visiting as well as other local businesses nearby. If Foursquare users do the right things and check in from their location frequently, they can eventually earn a different title (like Foursquare Superuser or Foursquare Mayor—more on both of these in just a minute).
You can also use Foursquare to earn “badges” on your account. When Foursquare users earn a badge, it is displayed in their profile for everybody to see.
What Types of Foursquare Users Are There?
While the vast majority of people using Foursquare are just termed “users” and have no special title, there are two different types of titles that should be discussed in addition: the Foursquare superuser and the Foursquare mayor.
Superusers are actually divided into three different categories. Level 1 is the “lowest” category of Foursquare superuser, while Level 3 is the highest. In order to get any of these status levels, moderators at Foursquare have to determine that you have been making regular and helpful contributions (for example, by routinely posting excellent tips about locations).
If you are a Foursquare Superuser Level 1, you can help the Foursquare team to clean up some of the map results. If you see something that's out of date—a venue has been closed or re-opened or re-named—you, unlike regular Foursquare users, can change it.
As a Foursquare Superuser Level 2, you can do all those things as well as adjusting the geolocation of a spot and merging listings that are actually identical. Superusers who attain Level 3 status are able to see a queue of user requests from around the world for updates and more.
Unlike a Foursquare Superuser, you don't actually need to make any contribution in particular to become a Foursquare Mayor. Instead, being a Foursquare Mayor of a place means that you have visited that particular place and checked in with Foursquare more than any other person. There are no special account abilities attached to being a Foursquare Mayor, but your name and profile will be displayed prominently when people click on a particular location.
Why Do People Use Foursquare?
Attorneys, who are often quite concerned about privacy issues, are often surprised to learn that there are Foursquare users at all. To become a Foursquare Superuser or Foursquare Mayor would require giving up so much time and privacy that some people can't see why anyone would do it.
Mostly, the appeal to Foursquare users seems to be the way that the application allows them to share where they are and find other people and businesses locally. The hyperlocal focus of Foursquare helps everyone, from a Foursquare superuser to a brand new account, know where the closest “check ins” are.
Additionally, there's no denying that there's a competitive vibe. Becoming a Foursquare mayor may not give you any real power, but there's a small thrill in being the person who has been in a place most. Not everyone needs to try to become a Foursquare Superuser or Foursquare Mayor—maybe their competitive wheels just start turning when they find out about the badges they could win.
Is Foursquare Useful For Legal Marketing?
Even if you never become a Foursquare Superuser—and you're only the Foursquare Mayor of your very own office—you can still use Foursquare as part of your web marketing strategy. Foursquare allows businesses to develop their own promotional events. For example, you may want to advertise a promotion for Foursquare users that would give them access to a free or discounted consultation. Of course, for some attorneys, that consultation would already be free or very close—which means you're not losing any money by getting the occasional Foursquare Superuser to visit your firm.
Some features of Foursquare aren't very useful for attorneys. For example, there is also the option to make some discounts available only to the most loyal customers. Unless someone wants very badly to be Foursquare Mayor of your building, it's very unlikely that clients will keep coming back to your law firm again and again just to check in on their app.
You can, however, make use of the Foursquare “tip” system as part of your legal marketing strategy. Asking clients who use Foursquare to give your business a positive tip can make it more likely that you'll get more local business in the future.
A Word About Foursquare Suitability
Not every law firm is equally equipped to get the most out of Foursquare. If you're in a rural area or a city that tends to lag technologically behind the curve, it may be that there simply aren't enough Foursquare users in your area to really make a difference to your bottom line. If this is the case, you'll be the Foursquare Mayor of nothing in particular, rather than actually attracting people to your site with your marketing.
If your clientele skews older, Foursquare may be a very poor bet as well. The site tends to be used by a young, hip crowd that is very plugged in to the internet at all times. If your clients are more likely to have a hearing aid than a Bluetooth headset, you may want to consider other methods to get your message out.