Why Your Business Needs to Be on Foursquare
It’s free to be on foursquare if you are a business. Yes, that’s right: FREE advertising! Perhaps even more important, it’s detrimental to your business to NOT be listed.
First of all, some of you may be asking: Just what is foursquare, anyway? In a nutshell, it is a location-based social media networking application that allows its users to broadcast where they are at any given time. Foursquare also lets other networks (such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) know the user’s location and status. It is available to anyone with a GPS-enabled mobile device such as a smartphone, iPad, or a tablet.
People use it to connect with their friends and to find new things to do in their hometown or other locations they visit. They can check into dental offices, spas, bars, restaurants, hair salons, sports stadiums, and parks, to name a few – virtually any venue that is listed. And if it is not listed, a venue is easy to add with a click of a button. Foursquare users can also see who else has checked in and leave tips about the food or other items of interest at their present location.
Foursquare is something like a game in some respects, since users earn points for each check-in and even badges (Adventurer, Super Star, Far Far Away, I’m on a Boat, Trifecta, NASA Explorer, etc.) based on where or how many times they check in to a particular location.
The ultimate status of any foursquare user is to become a mayor. To do that you must be the top foursquare user of a venue within a 60-day period, such as the person who checks in to Starbucks the most, etc. The cool part about playng foursquare is that many businesses offer discounts or incentives to people who check in and some even offer extra perks to the mayor.
So, why should your business be on foursquare? It is a bigger deal than you may think, and here is why a foursquare listing is important for your business:
- Don’t miss the boat. You are missing the boat if people are checking into your place and you don’t know about it. As of March, 2011, foursquare reported having 7 million users! The numbers are growing exponentially. Would you prefer to have purposeful access to that growing number of potential customers? Do you want to monitor foursquare users’ critiques and tips about your products and services?
- It’s your business – control the information. If people are checking into your venue and you are not controlling the information that they access, then erroneous details could be posted about you. Your business name’s spelling could be mistyped, for instance, or there could be other misleading data that would better serve your business goals to be managed correctly. Foursquare data is only as good as the people who contribute it. Make sure you are the one posting your business’s details.
- Word-of-mouth advertising is the best. When you claim your venue’s listing on foursquare, you can post specials, get ranked, and utilize this popular social tool as a ladder on which you and your customers simultaneously attain more and more status. Some people want to become foursquare’s Superusers and mayors, and they will return and return to become your most active customers. As they attain status by posting all their check-ins, so does your business with all that free advertising – and the best kind of advertising too: word-of-mouth!
- Location-based advertising is super-relevant. When users look up any business on foursquare, they can find other places in its vicinity that are running specials, so people take advantage of being nearby. This enhances your ability to publicize any promotions you may want to run, and it works synergistically for you and your business neighbors with great “buy local” appeal for users in your area.
In the grand scheme of how you build your social media presence, it is important to be Tweeting and posting regular updates to establish yourself. People don’t follow those who don’t Tweet. If you want to have a social presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, you need to be continually posting updates, both relevant and fun. If you don’t post regularly, then no one is going to care who you are.
Takeaway: Foursquare is no different from the other social media sites: active participation is the key. You become a social media superstar by playing the game. If your business is not on foursquare, this one is a no-brainer. It’s time to get listed and take advantage of this free advertising medium.