How Can a Small Business Leverage Foursquare?

John Follett


This is a guest post by Richard McMunn

Foursquare is a social networking tool that connects users and allows them to announce their location using their mobile device. This is not like simply checking-in on Facebook because it actually permits marketers to link their programs to point of sale activities. This is quite remarkable, since other networks have been unable to leverage social networks in this way.

For this reason Foursquare is growing rapidly, and is popular with personal users and marketers, but it can also be useful for small businesses.

Access your Company’s Data Rates on Foursquare
The first action a small business needs to take is to access your data rates on Foursquare. There is no point in wasting your time and money on a Foursquare marketing campaign, before you know if you are even listed, or if people are even checking-in. This research will also give you an idea of how Foursquare users actually interact with Foursquare in their physical environment. A Foursquare report can tell you how many check-ins you have had, at what locations, how many unique visits a location has had, and presented to you in easy-to-read graphs and tables.

Claim Your Location!
On Foursquare members create venues. This means that the information that they put up can be outdated or inaccurate. As part of your research if you come upon a location that has been set up for your business, it is in your best interest to take ownership of it, and keep the information on it up to date. Claim your location! This also gives you extra access to information about the location and amazingly, allows you to actually present special offers to customers who are checking-in. This incentivizes checking-in and will certainly get people talking about your small business. 

Offer FourSquare Specials
Once you have taken ownership of your page and start using Foursquare, it’s a good idea to use the “Specials” function. This function sends offers to people who are checking-in. For example, if a user checks-in for lunch at a certain restaurant, they will get an offer saying that your coffee shop around the corner is offering half-price coffees from noon – 4pm for people who live in the area. The specials are targeted to the location and the user, and are an excellent way of creating awareness about your business and sending traffic in your direction.

Advertise That You’re on Foursquare
It’s in your best interests to let your customers know that you’re part of Foursquare. You can put the Foursquare sticker in your window, and advertise on your other social media pages that you are on Foursquare and that there are special benefits to be had for people who check-in. This kind of marketing is mutually beneficial for your business and for Foursquare, growing awareness about both simultaneously.

Reward Customers
Giving your customers a good reason to check-in can also drive participation. A loyalty system is a good bet at this stage; the more your customers check-in the better the benefits and rewards they will receive. You will need to tailor this to the specifics of your business, but it has proven to be extremely successful. You will have customers who are Foursquare savvy but you will also have first-time Foursquare users and you can reward them too. The instinct is to only reward loyal and returning customers, but new customers can be just as valuable, since they may return and bring even more people with them.

There is no doubt that there is a glut of social networks out there. For big companies it’s fine to make use of all of them simultaneously because they have the time and money. A small business needs to be more careful with its resources, and this means being strategic about the social networks you invest time in. Foursquare can be a very useful tool for creating awareness and generating foot traffic, it is quite simple to use and can easily be leveraged for the benefit of your business.

Click Here for 5 simple steps to getting started on Foursquare.

Richard McMunn is a writer.

Image Credit: Social Media Examiner - Are you Checking Out the Hottest Social Media App?

Enhanced by Zemanta