Foursquare is one of the largest social networking platforms with a user base of over 15 million, most of them in the US. Started initially as a mash-up, it works on the simple concept of letting you know where you are and where your friends and others in your network are. It uses location information gathered by the GPS sensors on your smartphone.
From a retail business perspective, information such as the number of people coming to your location, the time that they come in and the groups of people they come with are a potential goldmine of valuable information. The service is free and business owners can list their location and let people check in when they arrive. Incidentally, foursquare currently has nearly 4 times the number of users compared to its nearest competitor checking.in.
Some of the features that the current version of Foursquare lets small businesses use once the location has been claimed include the ability to track footfalls, the ability to post updates about the latest offers, items on the menu, events like limited period offers and so on. It even posts your updates simultaneously to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Another new feature is the ability for you to share all your locations to a customer who is searching for you. Foursquare lets you connect with customers who visit your store often by automatically adding them to a list of loyal customers. Interacting appropriately with these customers will definitely go a long way towards earning their loyalty.
One of the most effective ways that businesses have found to attract customers is by sharing deals on Foursquare. Often, when a customer is trying to decide between two locations for dinner, a deal advertised on Foursquare could push them to a particular location. For instance deals that involve the customer checking in to receive a discount are a great way to drive more traffic to your store.
If you are interested in keeping your customers with you, Foursquare offers you ways to do so. For instance you could craft a deal which says that the customer receives a free product the tenth time they check in and make purchases. This is similar to the coupon system that ice cream chains use to get customers to come often. Small businesses can also make such offers now while saving on coupon print and designing charges. Further they can easily change ad introduce more offers on the fly with ease as in most cases this would involve a simple update to the page.
We have already touched upon the fact that foursquare gives a lot of real time data that hitherto would have been impossible to collect for a small business owner. You can make use of this data to schedule work shifts, run promo campaigns and understand your customers better.
Finally, one of the biggest advantages of Foursquare is its advertising potential. Almost all people on Foursquare have linked their accounts to Facebook and Twitter in such a way that whenever they check in to a location on Foursquare an update is posted. This is being broadcast to all their friends and followers, along with a link to your location. This free advertising that comes with a free service is one of the best reasons for businesses to start using Foursquare.
This guest post has been brought to you by Robin Mckenzie of www.buycenturylink.com, a site that offers savings and current information on consumers’ broadband internet and cable.