The age of social media is upon us. The proliferation of smart phones and other mobile devices makes social networking platforms like Facebook a great way to reach and engage customers. For certain businesses, choosing to invest your time developing relationships through social media can reflect positively on your business and can differentiate you from your competitors.
Foursquare.com has received less media attention than Facebook or Groupon, but since its founding in 2009 has managed to carve out a sizable niche of its own by combining a GPS-location-based check-in system with the social networking aspects of Facebook and Twitter. People check and update Foursquare to see where their friends are eating, shopping, or hanging out, and also to check for the special offers of nearby businesses. Businesses offer special deals to Foursquare users who check in at their establishment, and receive not only a boost to business, but free publicity since the user’s friends get a notification saying where they have checked in or claimed an offer. This type of promotion can be especially beneficial to restaurants, bars, clubs, coffee shops and similar merchants.
Foursquare is great for small businesses because it costs nothing and provides great flexibility in creating special offers unique to your business and situation. This gives you the opportunity both to reward loyal customers and to entice new ones. Sign up for Foursquare and they mail you stickers to put on your door or front window. Nearby users will be notified of your special offers, drawing in business. Frequent customers earn points for checking in, and compete to earn badges and to become the “mayor” of your establishment, which often unlocks special VIP deals and means that in the last sixty days they have checked in at your business most frequently of all your customers. Foursquare also offers analytic tools so you can track consumer behavior and demographics.
Even if your business has no storefront, Foursquare also offers non-location-based tools for connecting your brand with your customers and building your online reputation. Creating a Foursquare page is easy, and users can subscribe to your page to receive updates about your business straight from the source.
Foursquare is another online marketing tool that your business may benefit from utilizing. With a minimal investment and some creativity, you can increase foot traffic, encourage excitement at your location, reward loyal customers and attract new business. Fortunately it is possible to integrate Foursquare with your other social media platforms so you do not have to update your Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare pages individually.
You never know how many of Foursquare's twenty million users you have around you until you offer them an incentive!
If you would like more information on using Foursquare and our other marketing services, please contact us at www.BuddinghAssociates.com.
David S. Buddingh is founder and partner in Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact him at (630) 961-4504 or visit www.BuddinghAssociates.com.Scott Fader contributed to this article.