Foursquare's new Explore feature could help businesses attract more local businesses with its highly specific search criteria.

On its company blog, foursquare announced a new feature that allows people to search for nearby businesses on their mobile phones. The same Explore technology that allows users to “check-in” will enable them to locate nearby businesses more effectively and marketers might want to tap into the geosocial market to boost business discovery.

Explore brings up detailed maps of users’ current surroundings, locates businesses and brings them localized results for searches. The company reports that the feature is highly specific and sensitive to certain keywords.

With more than 1.5 billion check-ins on the site and other data entered by users, queries are more specific than simply types of restaurants.

“(B)ecause Explore is powered by check-ins and foursquare Tips, it’s not just personalized, it’s specific,” foursquare wrote on its blog. “Search for ‘pool table,’ or ‘guacamole;’ ‘deep dish,’ or ‘thin crust.’ Because not all bars, Mexican restaurants or pizza joints are created equal, and we want to make sure you find what you’re craving.”

For marketers, encouraging patrons to use foursquare to detail their experience can help boost the effectiveness of social media marketing with the platform. It should also serve as a reminder to think about details when planning local SEO campaigns for other mobile searchers who may have specific cravings. The Explore tool is available for both smartphone and iPad users. Additionally, it connects with Twitter, so rewarding customers for using foursquare can boost @mentions on Twitter, which will improve the overall visibility of a business on the web.

Brafton recently reported that social media marketing campaigns’ continued evolution will likely lead to increased foursquare use in 2012. With 70 percent of respondents naming social as a primary focus this year, foursquare’s new feature could help businesses boost the value of their web marketing campaigns.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.