Businesses can use the location-based social media site Foursquare
to promote their business by offering freebies and discounts to those who
frequent their venues. This form of social media also allows users to share
information about your venue and encourage others to visit.
Facebook may hold the lead in the realm of social media, location-based Foursquare
continues to grow and show that it may be a worthy competitor. So what is
location-based social media, how are people using it, and how can you use it to
promote your business?
Don’t know much about Foursquare? This social media site works
with an app on your phone to track businesses and other places you frequent.
When you “check-in” to a location via your phone, it shows up in Foursquare and
keeps count of how many times you visit certain places. Some businesses will
offer specials or discounts to those who frequent their business and check in
In some ways, Foursquare is like a game. You can earn points by
visiting venues, obtain badges, and see how you rank against other customers. Users
rank not only against their friends, but also everyone else in the city,
creating a competitive aspect. And if you’re a really devoted customer, you
might strive for “mayorship.” The mayor of a venue is the person who has
visited the most in the past 60 days, and usually gets a freebie for doing so.
This provides a great opportunity for businesses to reach out to
local audiences. By promoting your business and offering specials, you can
entice new customers to visit your business. Also, users are rewarded with
points for being adventurous and visiting new places, and so people who have
never visited your establishment might have incentive to do so, even without a
special offer. And for those who are already customers, it encourages them to
visit more often when you offer special discounts and freebies for frequent
Customers can also help you promote your business via Foursquare,
by creating tips and to-dos. They can tell friends and the general public about
information regarding your venue (like nights you offer a special, or a dish or
product to try), which will be seen by anyone nearby.
Once you’ve signed up, Foursquare offers tools and services to
help you promote your business. You can choose what type of offers you’d like
to make available to your customers, and even check real-time stats to see how
many visitors you’re getting.
With the success of Foursquare, other similar sites have cropped
up and tried to compete. Social media giant Facebook came out with a similar
app, Facebook Places, which was hailed as being a “Foursquare killer.” However,
instead of killing Foursquare, Facebook Places helped it grow even more. So how
did that happen? Mainstream media extensively covered Facebook Places, saying
it would rival Foursquare, which many people hadn’t heard of until then. This
caused people to look up Foursquare, and many signed up when they learned about
what it is and how they could benefit from it.
Facebook also helped to legitimize location-based social media.
Those who had heard of Foursquare, but were reluctant to use it for one reason
or another, saw that Facebook had a similar service and figured that it must be
something worth using.
However, Foursquare is not for every person or business. Since you
need an app on your phone to use Foursquare, those who don’t have Internet on
their cell phones won’t be able to use this service. Also, by using
Foursquare you’re basically announcing where you are at all times. Those who
wish to keep their lives more private will likely never use Foursquare.
Therefore, there is a significant portion of the general population you wont
reach via Foursquare.