If you’re going to get your feet wet, don’t just stick your toe in the water — cannonball it baby!

With the social media revolution that has swept our society and the internet in the last few years, many businesses small and large are still resistant to social media and the greatness that it can bring.

The big boys on campus Facebook and Twitter, really lead the pack when it comes to the social media race. For the newer kids on the block like the location-based city guide and game FourSquare, it’s nice to see how some business owners are embracing the cool factor of this application but moreover how relevant it is to being part of this media as it matures.

The premise of Foursquare is to say “hey I’m here” by checking in on your smartphone. If you “check-in” enough times you become the big cheese a.k.a. mayor of that location. Of course you can get bumped if you start slacking on your visits and that’s where the game aspect kicks in. There’s also a territorial badge system they’ve setup where if you do certain activities enough times you receive virtual badges, sort of like being in the Cub Scouts except there’s no sewing involved. Here’s a comprehensive list of the FourSquare badges as of today. Here’s an awesome list of FourSquare badges and the percentage of users that actually have each type of badge — very cool link.

Many businesses are now offering special deals if you become the mayor of their venue as well — such a great idea.

Say no more…I know I know, whenever I try to explain FourSquare to a client or potential client, I find myself thinking “this really sounds stupid — everything about it”. I get that. My wife says the same thing “don’t you want to become the mayor of our recycling bin?” — “First of all honey… you can’t do that, second stop ripping on my social awesomeness.” Ok, I see her point and totally get the silliness of this all.

With over 3 million registered users however, this “silly” little social phenom isn’t something you should ignore — it’s catching on like wildfire. It’s picked up so much traction that Facebook integrated their own version into their software recently.

The sad thing is a lot of businesses are really missing the boat (I’m not on a boat! — a little 4SQ badge humor) on how the FourSquare app can help benefit traffic and the popularity of their business venues. One way to ignore the masses, (aside from not participating with this app) is to promote super lame offers. A blog I stumbled upon recently lists the hot and not so hot deals to look out for when using FourSquare.

Locally, I’ve seen some really sad attempts at using FourSquare incentives, Starbucks was really pathetic, a dollar off a Frappuccino, while other businesses like Data Doctors and Pizza Hut followed suit with their half-ass incentives. (see below for their “specials”)

One local business here in Gilbert, Arizona Joe’s Real BBQ, really hit a home-run with their offering. In a tweeted response to us recently, they nailed it on the head “FourSquare just makes sense. When we do an offer we like it big enough for people to talk about.”

And BOOM there it is.

Getting people to talk, share, blog and tweet about you with social media goodness. I alone have passed this information on about Joe’s several times already as of this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, with new and current clients etc — and that’s how a buzz begins. The first domino falls then the rest follow suit.

The moral of this story, if you’re going to do it, DO IT. Don’t shy away from this new technology or media revolution — embrace it. Give FourSquare a shot. You’ll be surprised at what happens.

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