Every Friday morning at 8:00AM come rain or shine a growing group of Melbourne socialmedia enthusiasts meet at a cafĂ© called Mr Tulk next to the Victoria State Library. The informal group known as Social Media Melbourne (or @socialmelb on Twitter for short) gathers around a communal table to chat about all things to do with social media whether it is the latest iPhone application, how people are using Twitter for business or special offers that are exclusively available to FourSquare users.

Being a collective of social media experts who love to share ideas and good times, it’s no surprise the group has expanded beyond coffee breakfasts into regular evening dinners. The most recent of these night gatherings was organised to coincide with a tweet-up (twitter meet up) for good cause hosted at a Wagamama noodle bars.

By using the #wntu hashtag the national Wagamama social networking event connected people from nearly all the states with gatherings happening in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, and Perth. It enabled an eclectic bunch of participants to try Wagamama’s new winter menu, costing each person only a $5 donation to the charity Save The Children who run health and wellbeing programs in Australia. The venue was a perfect fit for a socialmelb dinner because of the casual dining, communal tables and providing diners with free Wi-Fi available for the event.  Check out Flickr for photo’s of the Mebourne evening.

Founded in London, Wagamama is a global food chain company that has wholeheartedly embraced Social Media for marketing. Interestingly, they use FourSquare, Facebook and Twitter as part of an ongoing communication strategy rather than just promoting a single event such as the Tweet-Up.

Foursquare is a location based social networking website and application that allows registered users to connect with friends to share their location.  It has game aspect, as points are awarded for “checking in” at venues creating a scoreboard over the period of a week. You can also sync your Twitter and Facebook accounts which then update your stream or news feed when you check in to a venue.

Through its marketing with Foursquare, Wagamama provides access a range of real-time information about its customers including who has ‘checked in’ to its noodle bars, when they arrived, the male to female customer ratio and which times of day are more active for certain customers, who the most frequent visitors to the restaurant are etc. Once checked into, the Wagamama also offers visitors an Australia wide Foursquare promotion that provides instant offers such as complementary soup with every main meal for every 5th check in to engage new customers and keep current ones connected with the brand.

The great news is this marketing information is freely available to your business and if you’re located in Melbourne or any other large city your business may have already have been listed in Foursquare.  By the way if it isn’t already there, then simply add it to the Foursquare network by clicking “Add This Place”.  You can then fill out basic details like your address and phone number.

Foursquare offer a number of ways for foursquare users to unlock your business special:

  • Mayor specials can be unlocked only by the Mayor of your venue (the user who has checked in the most in the last 60 days).
  • Count-based specials are unlocked when a user checks in a certain number of times. (“… on your 10th check-in”).
  • Frequency-based specials are unlocked every so many check-ins (“… every 5th check-in”).
  • Wildcard specials are always unlocked, but your staff has to verify some extra conditions before awarding the special (“Free drink with purchase of an entree when you check in”).

Once you are ready to start offering specials to people on Foursquare who check-in to your business go to foursquare.com/businesses and verify you’re the manager and then you are on your way to using this geosocial application to share details about your business.

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