Having launched onto the scene back in 2009, Foursquare is a location based social networking site that aims to help you make the most of your local area. Having started up with humble intentions to get people to interact more with their local environment via mobile devices, Foursquare reported over 25 million users worldwide and over 2.5 billion check-ins and over 1 million businesses uing the business platform, as of September 2012.
Foursquare allows you to use your mobile device such as your iPhone or Blackberry, to search for local places of interest and to log a “check-in” and comments/photos wherever you are. Venues such as the local cake shop, your office or your favourite eaterie can all be found in the local search, and if you find somewhere you go is not on there, you can also log it yourself.
The more you log check-ins, the more points you are awarded and you also have the chance to gain badges for checking in at certain places or a certain number of times at one place and so on. If you also are the person with the most check-ins at one place over the last 60 days, you are also awarded the Mayorship of that place.
Foursquare shares and saves the places you visit and other users can see any comments you leave about a place.
Foursquare can be a powerful tool in your local marketing strategy as with so many users, having your brand appear in the search results for local places of interest is going to keep your brand fresh and current. It allows you to interact with your potential customer base as well as reward your existing customer baseby allowing you to offer incentives for additional check-ins, such as deals and bargains to the current Mayor.
Business owners, especially individual store owners, may find that their business has already been created on Fourquare and as the business owner, you have the chance to verify ownership by phone or email. Once verified you will also receive a Foursquare window sticker so that your customers will know you are a Foursquare friendly establishment.
As of October 2012, Foursquare search results can be seen by anyone, not only those logged in and registered. This opens Foursquare up as a major player in the local search results and makes it a rival to Google places and Yelp. If someone is in your area and wanting to look for recommendations, it is fairly likely that Foursquare may be checked. You just have to see the local businesses to you and the number of check-ins and comments they receive to realise that there’s a whole new local search world out there that you may have not considered previously.
Foursquare encourages loyalty and brings your customers closer to you. It makes the simple task of finding a local coffee shop for example, a much more personalised experience if the visitor has based their choice on having seen a personal recommendation from someone else who happened to be in there that week already. In the States Foursquare is used in a much wider way and it’s customary to see deals and freebies on offer to the curent Mayor of a certain location. These deals such as “free muffin with your coffee to our Mayor” is a cheap way of building customer loyalty but it’s guaranteed to be a winner. You will probably find the chuffed Mayor adding positive comments, sharing his location, saving it as a favourite, checking in more often and generally acting as a crucial tool in your brand awareness and reputation. This could lead to more check-ins by new visitors and thus more customers. Depending on your business, Foursquare can be used as a fun way of local marketing.
Foursquare can be a valuable contribution to your integrated online marketing strategy. To make yours work better for you or to get one in place, speak to Artemis Internet Marketing today.
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