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Foursquare: The Training Wheels of Social Media

 

Can a location-based social network tool help your business? If it is a business to consumer model, then the answer is yes. As a business owner, your likely response to social media and its many applications is probably less than favorable. Don’t worry, you’re not alone, and it’s not entirely your fault. Your job at the end of the day is to keep the lights on, the shelves stocked and ultimately, make money. There isn’t enough time to talk about your company online, manage a fluctuating marketing campaign and get a good night’s rest.

Today we are going to do you a huge favor, and help you take the first step in a relatively simple way. Those of you who have consulted with us personally know that there is a vast array of options when equipping yourself with an arsenal of online tools to better market your business. Out of all those tools, the two essentials are Facebook and Foursquare.
 
Facebook will help you to build a presence online and communicate the personality of your brand to your audience. Foursquare will help with the short term sale, and will quantify results in a way that you, as a business owner, can best understand. How many people came in the door today as result of this venture?
 
How does Foursquare work?
People use Foursquare to check in to locations on their mobile devices. Then, this “check-in” becomes public domain, where peers can then locate a person’s present and past whereabouts. This information is supplemented by tips and notices that users leave about each location such as what to eat, buy or do while there.
 
This is where your business savvy comes in handy. Having individuals checking in to your location creates a shroud of credibility around the individual’s personal network, which strengthens and expands as more people opt in to stopping by and having their own personal experience. The best way to expedite this process is by creating a check in deal that is appealing to your ideal customer.
 
Check-in Deal
In order to create a deal, you simply go to your business’ Foursquare page and make an offer. If you are a restaurant, you can offer a free appetizer or drink as a reward. If you are service based, perhaps you can offer a free t-shirt to further your branding efforts. Either way, check-ins are a great way to create an incentive for people to frequent your business or even discover it for the first time. More importantly, it is ideal for quantifying the impact that today’s social media climate has on your business. If you get eighty check-ins in one month, that is eighty people who undeniably connected with you through online media, and in turn received a reward for their patronage. Once you understand that, you can begin to utilize other forms of online media that are slightly more intangible, but all tie in to have a similar result. The more you market, the more you benefit.
 
Tips to getting started on your Foursquare adventure:

1. Claim your page
When you log on to Foursquare for the first time, there is a good chance that you can find your business already in existence. There will be an option to claim the business as your own, and you will go through a brief verification process. If you are still having trouble or need to claim your page from scratch, here is a link that will help: http://support.foursquare.com/entries/195157-managing-your-venues-with-a-brand-page-rather-than-a-user-page.
 
2. Offer a special
There are a few options when setting up a special, but the best one to start with will be the standard “Check-in Special.” This involves you offering an immediate reward to users when they check in to your business. You can limit it to their first visit, or even build upon their interest by offering more appealing specials the more times they check in. Over time, you can begin to explore the varied methods of offering incentives via check-in and discover which is most effective for your business.
 
3. Add a Foursquare widget to your website
Here is a link to build a profile through Foursquare, and attain a widget to embed on your site. This will allow users to add you quickly and grow your user base easier: https://foursquare.com/buttons/likebutton.
 
4. Use stickers and signs
When you display signs that show your involvement with the application, you create a call to action that both engages existing users and encourages new users to join on the spot. Once you have confirmed your ownership of a location, Foursquare will send you a sticker to display in your window. In addition, you can find a link to the logos and other materials here: https://foursquare.com/about/logos.
 
5. Maintenance
Once you have followed the steps and established a presence on Foursquare, the work becomes minimal. Occasionally check back and change your deals to better accommodate your users. They will get tired of redeeming the same offer over and over, so make it exciting. Sometimes a small change is all it takes to breathe new life into an existing campaign.
 
 

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