As a social media consultant, I am active on all social media platforms. It isn’t just a job for me, I actually have a great time interacting for both business and pleasure. For over a year I have been playing on and building a Foursquare account and am happy to report, it is not only fun, but a growing social media platform all small business owners can benefit from by using. As we say in the biz, “be everywhere in a unique way” and so while not a major player like LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Facebook, Foursquare should be part of your overall small business social media strategy.
What is Foursquare? This relatively new social media platform allows users to check in as they move about their day earning points, creating new places to check-in, friending others, and interacting by liking and commenting on posts. Users also have the ability to include pictures, reviews and tips of the places they visit. If you are the user with the most check-ins at a particular place, you become the Mayor, which users love to do. Additionally users earn badges for checking into similar spots. For instance, you can earn multiple levels of the Pizzaiolo badge by checking into pizza joints.
1) You get to control how your business is represented. Many check-in spots are created by users when a business has not taken the time to set-up an account. By setting up the account yourself you can ensure that the location is correct and pictures in place to represent your goods and services.
2) As a small business owner you can track who has visited your business and thank them for checking in. The system will generate a notification to them and this very personal touch can go a long way with a customer.
3) Offer a deal. Many businesses are offering discounts when a user checks-in. I have received discounts at Toys R Us as well as restaurants including Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope, PA.
4) Users are starting to search for businesses in the Foursquare app. For instance, if I am visiting a new area and need a great place for dinner, based on my location Foursquare will list recommendations for me. As a small business owner you can make sure that your business is listed and even offer a special (free appetizer with check-in) as an enticement.
Foursquare is building and currently claims to have 30 million users worldwide. They recently added an expanded user bio section so your Foursquare friends can see a bit more about you (hint: add in your business information to your personal account). Recently I was in Marketfair Mall and noticed a special parking spot reserved for the Foursquare mayor and Foursquare was recently mentioned on the HBO series Newsroom. It is growing in popularity and I highly recommend all small business owners set-up an account.