Foursquare Can Boost Your Local Marketing Strategy

Foursquare

Take Advantage Of An Under-Utilized Social Marketing Method To Increase Your Visibility For Local Business

One of the lesser used social media formats is Foursquare, a location based networking tool for smartphones. GPS software finds a user’s location and offers quality local services (such as restaurants, stores, and bars) for the individual to consider visiting.

Other apps (such as Yelp! and Google Maps) offer a similar service, but Foursquare’s growing popularity offers businesses a new marketing avenue.

As highlighted by their recent statistics from January 2014, Foursquare’s service is growing. They host a community of some 45 million active worldwide users (up by 25 million from April 2012), which leads to over 5 billion check-ins a month.

Here’s how to take advantage of this largely untapped social networking service.

Small Businesses on Foursquare

The surge in popularity over the last three years has led to 1.5 million businesses using the app.

Although it’s dependent on what a business provides, it’s very likely that most companies already have a Foursquare presence. Customers, as they go about their activities, list businesses and provide reviews regardless of whether they’re on the service or not.

SEE ALSO: 5 Mobile Marketing Habits For Your SMB

Businesses can take control of this situation by creating a Foursquare presence, which can be initiated by claiming a venue in their records.

As the site explains, “Potential customers see your listing when they search for places to go–they can look at photos and tips people leave, call you directly from our app, or look up your address so that they can stop by.”

If you decide to list your business you can subsequently provide further information, such as hours of operation, social media links, miscellaneous details, and whatever else seems relevant.

The app also has options for customer engagement, such as updates for user’s news feeds.

Elsewhere, Foursquare Specials offer incentives for customers to write positive reviews and return at a later date. There are also tools for monitoring “foot traffic” in and out of your store, which is effectively a real life version of Google Analytics. Advertising options (which your company only pays for if a user acts upon the advertisement) also present a unique chance to direct your services to a local environment.

Essentially, Foursquare offers a direct way of getting your business’s message across  in a community. Modern SEO consists of delving into the vast digital world of Google to promote your company. Foursquare allows for a personalised touch for customers who actually live within distance, or may even be walking by at an opportune moment, presenting a unique opportunity for customer engagement.

A Marketer’s Approach

It’s Foursquare’s personalized touch that opens up creative opportunities for marketers.

Foursquare Specials provide a genuinely competitive way to develop interest. To begin with, your brand is highlighted on the app when you apply a special. If a potential customer is in a nearby store, Foursquare will inform them of the companies nearby with specials on.

You can engage with new customers by offering a “Share To Get” button. In the clickhappy world of the internet age, many internet users find the need to click the button irresistible. It’s your job to make sure it’s a worthwhile decision.

SEE ALSO: How To Marketing To Gen Y

As always with business, it’s a competitive world with everyone attempting to outdo each other. The better the offer, the more likely a customer will visit.

The key to success is to make entertaining specials, and there have been numerous success stories. Domino’s, for instance, made a campaign which encouraged customers to visit their outlets (rather than order online). Whoever checked into a store the most was made the “Mayor” of the store and rewarded with free food.

Smaller businesses have used campaigns as simple as offering free badges to customers, which proved an enormous hit. The trick would appear to be steering clear of the dreary, banal world of “10% off.”

It may be a short term approach to increase traffic, but regular innovation could allow a business to find a welcome boost.

RELATED: Tap In To Online Tools For Your Local Marketing Strategy

Image: Foursquare

About The Author

Alex Morris is a writer and marketer. He spends his time reporting about the business and technology industries, with additional cultural writing. He has been a business writer since completing an MA in Journalism in 2007.