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Note:  This is a guest post by Social Media DIY

Foursquare is currently one of the most popular service that combines social networking and location-based services. Launched in spring 2009, it includes businesses in more than 100 cities across the United States with more than 300,000 users. Foursquare allows customers to check-in when they arrive at your business. This becomes a game as users compete against each other to have the most check-ins at your business to become the mayor of your business. In addition, Foursquare users earn badges based on their level of involvement and consistency in checking in. Foursquare has mobile applications for the iPhone, android phones, and the BlackBerry, and allows other users to check in using their mobile website.

Here’s a short video that explains how Foursquare works.

How To Unlock Your World With Foursquare on Howcast

You don’t need a Foursquare account to access information about your business. Do a search on your business name. Skim through the search results to find your business. Click on your business name to display a page about your business. The page includes a link to Google Maps but doesn’t provide access to your Place Page (if your business has one).

If your business isn’t listed in Fourquare, you need a free account to add it. One of the options for a place search results allows you to add a new business. The form is simple and collects basic location information. When you add your business, you can add your Twitter account, a smart idea for reaching your mobile customers.

The most valuable information here are the statistics that show you the number of people who have checked in at your business and the names of these users. Most people have a photograph avatar, so you can start to identify your Foursquare customers when they arrive. You can also see your current mayor.

Foursquare wants to help your business advertise to its users. They will help your business set up a special badge for your business that users earn by meeting a criteria you set (number of visits, etc.) They will also advertise your current mayor promotion to people checking in at your business or at nearby businesses.

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Your turn: Have you been monitoring customer check-ins at your business through Foursquare? Have you used any of their advertising or promotion services? Share your experience.

The Social Media DIY Workshop is for small business people who want to learn social media. The workshop consists of articles, ebooks, and videos that explain social media topics. Use these resources to create your customized learning experience. Learn what you want to build a customized do-it-yourself (DIY) social media program for your business, non-profit, or government agency.

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