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'Check In' on Portsmouth Foursquare Day

Third annual event invites Portsmouth area businesses to offer customers special deals and incentives who check in using mobile app.

The third annual Portsmouth Foursquare Day has the potential to be the biggest one yet thanks to the growing popularity of the mobile application.

Brian DeKoning, one of Portsmouth Fousquare Day's organizers, said they have had 50 to 100 Portsmouth area businesses participate in the event that will take place on April 16 this year.

With groups like the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, the University of New Hampshire, the Music Hall and others all promoting business participation, DeKoning believes on that Monday, which would typically be slow this time of year.

"I'm hopeful that we'll have a very good turnout because more people are familiar with foursquare," he said on Wednesday afternoon.

According to event organizers, the chamber is working with local businesses that will offer specials and incentives for customers who visit their locations and check in using foursquare.

The Music Hall will host a reception in the Founders Lobby at 5 p.m. where people can sign up for foursquare, take home some foursquare “swag” and check in using the app to earn virtual rewards.

“Last year, the city of Portsmouth made it official by mayoral proclamation that April 16 is Portsmouth Foursquare Day,” said Bridgette Desmond, communication manager at the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, in a prepared statement. “This was done in recognition of foursquare’s benefit to local businesses. When people check in on foursquare at a business they are telling their friends that they are a patron there. As a result, foursquare provides a digital word-of-mouth that helps generate new business.”

“The Music Hall has been an ardent supporter of the foursquare revolution,” said Monte Bohanan, electronic & new technology manager at The Music Hall, in a prepared statement. “Foursquare is all about location and therefore local community. Through events like Portsmouth Foursquare Day and our Digital Portsmouth series, we are proud to spotlight technology that helps bring the Portsmouth community together both digitally and in person.”

“The foursquare community in Portsmouth has grown tremendously since we started this in 2010,” said DeKoning, director of social strategy at Raka Creative in Portsmouth, in a prepared statement. “Since then, the Portsmouth Foursquare team including co-founder Walter Elly, Sandra Rand, Doug Ridley and many others have helped raise thousands of dollars for charity, helped activate business growth through social media marketing and helped everyone have a little more fun through this app we call foursquare.”

Foursquare Day, or 4sqDay as it is known online, is an annual event celebrated by thousands of communities around the world, according to event organizers. Portsmouth earned top honors as the No. 1 Foursquare Day city in the world during the inaugural year in 2010, besting cities such as New York, Hong Kong and Manchester, according to event organizers.

On Wednesday, DeKoning said businesses who use foursquare see many benefits. The can use the mobile app to promote customer loyalty by rewarding them with discounts and deals if they check in with a given business so many times in a month. They can also offer even better rewards for foursquare users who become the mayor of a given business by visiting that business the most in a one-month period, DeKoning said.

Businesses also get a lot of additional exposure because when people who use foursquare check-in, that is often posted on their indvidual Twitter and Facebook accounts, which means all of the people who follow them on those Social Media apps learn about the business.

"You can also use foursquare to search for reviews, the most popular places, and where your friends are going," DeKoning said.

According to event organizers, the full list of local businesses offering discounts and incentives on the day, as well as instructions on how to sign up for foursquare, can be found at http://portsmouthfoursquare.com. The Music Hall’s special event is free and open to the public. The event takes place on April 16, 5 - 7 p.m. at The Music Hall’s Founders Lobby at 28 Chestnut St. Attendees are encouraged to RSVP for the event at http://meetup.com/foursquare/Portsmouth-NH. After the event, The Music Hall will show the sci-fi cult-classic comedy “Space Balls” in its theater. Movie tickets are available at the box office and online at http://themusichall.org/.

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