Location-based services are all the rage these days. Foursquare and Gowalla are growing exponentially in popularity and subscriber base with every passing day. While many critics were quick to write them off as “a waste of time”, location-based services such as Foursquare offer an untapped opportunity for businesses.
As a testimony to the growing popularity of location-based services, Facebook – world’s leading social network recently announced the integration of Foursquare and Gowalla into its latest offering – Facebook Places.
How does Foursquare work?
Like any other location-based service, Foursquare makes use of the GPS capabilities of users’ phones to determine their location. Users are encouraged to verify their location (check-in) and rewarded with badges and mayor-ships for doing so. It’s a fun experience that lets users inform their friends and family about their current location as well as earn rewards for it.
Foursquare for Business
While individual rewards are great, does Foursquare offer any value to businesses? Yes it does, all it requires is some smart thinking and swift action. The founding principle of Foursquare is based on getting people to your place of business. Therefore, it’s well suited for a variety of businesses such as restaurants, book shops, spas, salons etc.
Thankfully, the folks at Foursquare realize the business potential of location-based services and therefore they provide an opportunity for business owners to claim their business. Once you’ve claimed a location as your business on Foursquare, you can launch incentives and campaigns in order to encourage more users to check-in at your business location.
As a business, you should encourage user shout-outs, offer cool mayor incentives and regularly monitor check-ins to make best possible use of Foursquare.
Word of Location = Word of Mouth
When users’ checks-in at a particular location, they broadcast their location on Twitter and Facebook. This helps spread the word regarding your business to a large number of social media users thereby boosting your prospect customer base.
What’s more, Foursquare already has put in security measures to ensure that users don’t over do it. In addition to the passive social media promotion through Twitter and Facebook, a business can get listed amongst Foursquare advertisements as well.
Real Time Statistics
Foursquare provides valuable information regarding your business location including
- most recent visitors
- most frequent visitors
- the time of day people check in
- total number of unique visitors
- histogram of check-ins per day
- gender breakdown of customers
- portion of foursquare check-ins broadcast to Twitter and Facebook
This data provides vital feedback for a business regarding their performance and reputation on Foursquare as well as social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
The Mobile Experience
Smartphones are here to stay and they are redefining our habits for good. Foursquare offers mobile clients for all leading mobile platforms including Android, iPhone and Blackberry thereby reaching a large number of people across varied walks of life. From a business perspective, when it comes to reaching out prospect customers, the golden rule of “The More, The Merrier” works perfectly.