Businesses, both big and small, may be inspired by McDonald's foursquare campaign, which cost the company less than $1,000 and generated major buzz among mobile consumers.

McDonald's may be a billion-dollar fast-food brand, but that doesn't mean it doesn't love cost-efficient marketing. Businesses, both big and small, may be inspired by McDonald's foursquare campaign, which cost the company less than $1,000 and generated major buzz among mobile consumers. Plus, foursquare's latest mobile developments may mean that marketers who use the geo-social app could find their stores appeal to an increasing number of users.

Last spring, McDonald's launched a promotional campaign surrounding a consumer-generated foursquare Day. On April 16, McDonald's raffled 100 $5 and $10 gift cards to foursquare users who checked in at a McDonald's store location. McDonald's social media director, Rick Wion, told ClickZ the event generated a 33 percent increase in check-ins, and the source estimates this translates into check-ins at 20 percent of the chain's locations.

Plus, eConsultancy reports that the foursquare event led to more than 50 blog posts and articles mentioning the campaign. Wion indicated the chain won 600,000 social fans and followers who gave 99 percent positive feedback about the promotion.

Brands who take this success story as incentive to incorporate foursquare in their marketing campaigns may be pleased to learn they don't necessarily need the brand recognition of McDonald's to get their stores noticed. The foursquare blog recently announced an update to the location-based app's Tips tool. The Tips section of foursquare now has its own tab, which makes it easier for users to see "Nearby Tips." This feature gives users insight on neighboring locations from other foursquare users, and Nearby Tips may help consumers discover local brands.

The success of MCDonald's campaign and the new intuitive features for mobile users could indicate that the app is on its way to broadening its reach in U.S. markets. However, marketers may want to monitor further developments of channel before allocating large shares of their budgets to the platform. Back in July, Brafton reported that a Forrester Research report indicated only 4 percent of online adults use location-based social services.  

Katherine Griwert is Brafton's Marketing Director. She's practiced content marketing, SEO and social marketing for over five years, and her enthusiasm for new media has even deeper roots. Katherine holds a degree in American Studies from Boston College, and her writing is featured in a number of web publications.