Exploring the world around us has never been easier, and when it comes to discovering the best local spots, Foursquare stands out as a modern-day compass.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into “What is Foursquare,” unraveling the layers of this innovative platform that seamlessly blends social networking with real-world exploration.

Whether you’re a curious newcomer or a seasoned user, our insights will enhance your understanding of how Foursquare revolutionizes the way we interact with our surroundings.

Stay tuned as we journey through the features, benefits, and the unique social experience that Foursquare offers.

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a service with momentous opportunity for data-driven marketers. And the potential grows with the onslaught of users drawn to location-based apps like it. Reported this week by Search Engine Land,

Foursquare has surpassed 2 billion check-ins and 20 million users. The app also boasts 35 million places in its location database. So what is the appeal of Foursquare?

For consumers, there are several elements:

  1. It’s fun because it’s similar to a game. You can pass by your pals by accruing points for checking in at new places, checking in with other people and even earning “achievements.”
  2. There is the deal component. Many locations offer an incentive for checking in—a discount, a free appetizer upon your third check-in, a gift card for becoming the “Mayor” of a location, etc. The possibilities are endless.
  3. Lastly, there is the “Explore” component. Foursquare launched its “explore” tab on the mobile app (and more recently the website) for consumers to find more locations around them they might be interested in. The consumer can simply choose the type of place they’re looking for (food, coffee, nightlife, shopping or arts) and Foursquare will present the user with a myriad of options in the local area. This function is ideal for a walking city like New York or Charleston.

So What’s In It For, Say, a Retail Store?

First and foremost—like all social media—it acts as an immediate word of mouth. Foursquare encourages users to provide a status and a photo along with their check-in being prompted by the message, “What are you up to?”

It’s also easy to share your check-in. You can opt to share all of your check-ins on Twitter at any time from the mobile app or receive notifications about where your friends have just checked-in.

Even better, you can check out where your friends have been, not only recently, but their favorite types of locations (coffee shops, breakfast spots, bars, etc.), their all-time top spots and the tips they’ve provided about the different locations.

Furthermore, brands can be on Foursquare.

For example, in the image below, you have Palmetto Brewing Co. offering the tip “Try the Palmetto Beers” at the Charleston location of Whole Foods. Tips can be a powerful tool for interacting with Foursquare users.

As Foursquare grows and develops, I’m sure real-time tips like promotions will become available and more prevalent in the Explore feature.

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare’s Impact on Social Interaction and Local Discovery

Foursquare has redefined the landscape of social interaction and local discovery, transforming the way we connect with our communities and explore new places.

Its unique blend of social networking and location-based services offers a dynamic platform for users to share and discover local experiences.

  • Building a Community of Explorers: Foursquare fosters a sense of community among its users. By checking in at various locations, users not only share their whereabouts but also contribute valuable insights about local spots, from the coziest cafes to hidden gems. This communal sharing creates a network of local explorers, each adding to the collective knowledge of the community.
  • Enhancing Local Businesses: For local businesses, Foursquare is a powerful tool. User check-ins and reviews provide authentic, user-generated content that helps promote these businesses. Additionally, business owners can use Foursquare’s tools to offer special deals or rewards to frequent visitors, incentivizing more traffic and engagement from the local community.
  • Personalized Local Recommendations: One of Foursquare’s standout features is its ability to offer personalized recommendations. By analyzing check-in data and user preferences, Foursquare suggests places you might enjoy, tailored to your tastes. This makes local discovery more intuitive and personalized, connecting users with experiences they’re likely to love.
  • Cultural Exchange and Tourism: For tourists, Foursquare acts as a digital tour guide. By accessing the wealth of local knowledge available on the platform, visitors can experience a city through the eyes of its residents, leading to more authentic and memorable travel experiences.
  • Promoting Social Interaction: Foursquare encourages real-world social interactions. By notifying users of friends nearby or suggesting meet-up spots, it bridges the gap between the digital and physical worlds, facilitating face-to-face connections.
  • Impact on Urban Exploration: The platform has significantly impacted how people explore urban environments. With easy access to information about nearby attractions, events, and eateries, urban exploration becomes more spontaneous and informed.

Foursquare has not only revolutionized the concept of social networking but has also significantly enriched local discovery and exploration.

By seamlessly integrating the digital and physical realms, it has created a vibrant community of explorers, contributing to the richness of local cultures and economies.


Now that you know what Foursquare is, stop asking, “Why should my business be on Foursquare?” and start innovating ways to utilize this location-based app for business growth.

Good luck!