Between you and me I had become a little bored with Foursquare. I think it has application for many small businesses and certainly know some businesses that use it quite well.
As a consumer user however, it never really offered up enough value.
I think that’s changed with the introduction of what Foursquare is calling the Explore function.
Explore has been on the mobile app for some time, but now it’s been added to the newly designed Foursquare website and it gives Foursquare a unique opportunity to compete with Yelp and Google Maps.
The way Explore works is that it allows you to search for businesses that your friends and the other hundreds of millions of Foursquare users have found and commented on.
You can use your current location or put in the location of your next vacation to start finding a place to eat lunch today or get a drink near your hotel.
When you find a place it will tell you if any of your friends have checked in there in the past.
Find by tips
One of my favorite features (and one that should get the attention of business owners) is that Foursquare also searches through the tips notes that users leave. So, if you want to find the “best biscuits and gravy” at a great breakfast place you simply add that to your search and Foursquare will go to work.
Filter by your history
You can also filter your searches to places you’ve been, have not been, your friends have been, or Foursquare recommended places. (Not sure what the criteria for that last one is, but should probably find out.)
My favorite though is that you can filter your searches to only places with specials. This effectively gives the user a great special finding engine and the business a great additional reason to run specials.
Claim and participate
To me that adds another great reason to add your business to Foursquare and start enhancing your business presence there. If your business is already in Foursquare, find it and claim the profile so you can information to it.
If it’s not yet listed download the Foursquare app and check in at your business and make sure you add accurate address information. Then you can go to the Foursquare website and claim your venue.