By Dwayne Kilbourne
When it comes to the location-based services (LBS) social networks, Foursquare has grown to become the de facto segment leader, but the landscape is getting quite diverse with new competitors arriving all the time. Luckily, Foursquare has continued to push the envelope in innovation and partnerships. As a result, the user base has continued to grow at an impressive pace, and more businesses and brands are jumping on board. But, many companies are unsure if Foursquare is worth the time and effort, so here are seven reasons why your organization should give foursquare a look or two.
Why Your Business Should Use Foursquare
1. Use Foursquare specials to reach new customers: If your organization offers a Foursquare special, it shows up on the mobile app screen of anybody who is checking in nearby, and many users will click on the option to view those specials that are nearby them, motivating many of them to stop in at your business establishment.
2. Claiming your venue gives you competitive advantage: Every time a customer uses Foursquare to check-in at your venue (so long as they are not checking in off-grid), you see them listed within your merchant management tools. If they have a Twitter profile linked to their Foursquare profile, you now have the capability to reach out and tweet them a thank you for stopping in; this enables your business to start engaging the customer and building that relationship. If they do not have a Twitter or Facebook profile linked, you could still friend request them from your branded account and use the comment feature within Foursquare to send along your gratitude. Cropping out and establishing your piece of this channel right now will allow you to stay one step ahead of the competition.
3. Data… Data… Data: Piggy-backing on the last note about how claiming your venue adds to your competitive edge, Foursquare also provides great data about your customers. Do you have more females or males checking in using Foursquare? Who was your most recent Foursquare user to check-in? Which Foursquare user frequents your venue the most within the past certain amount of days? When do most of your customers check-in each day? Seeing how this information is currently free to all businesses who claim their venue(s), giving Foursquare at least one try should be a no-brainer!
4. Foursquare Tips: Whether you know it or not, Foursquare users are leaving tips about your business as we speak. Even if you haven’t joined this party, people have created your venue, checked into your venue, and probably added tips and pictures. Engaging these customers by participating in the conversation helps you understand your customers’ perspectives and feedback.
5. Foursquare is popular: When it comes to location-based services, Foursquare is the top name in the game. Currently, the service has over 10 million registered users, and many of them are highly enthusiastic. You’d be surprised just how many people are using Foursquare to check into venues in your area.
6. Foursquare is customizable: Unlike many social media networks, Foursquare is excited to hear the enthusiasm from their user base. As a result, they have opened up their API to anybody who wants to build off of it. Hence, there are many new and interesting third-party apps that build off of the Foursquare platform. This means that your company has that option too. Foursquare continues to add new business-friendly features every few months, and that provides businesses, large and small, the chance to try out new things. Recently, the company announced that it is unveiling the Merchant API in an effort to allow brands to build on top of the Foursquare experience and help streamline it into their current systems.
7. The price – foursquare is free for everybody: Unless you are looking to really market using badges and the like (something that currently runs about $25,000 per month with a three month minimum commitment), the experience is free to try and use. This means that you can play around with this social network without worrying about losing a great deal of investment money.
Personally, I have over 10,000 foursquare check-ins, manage three venues for clients, am a superuser level 2 and part of the Foursquare Ambassador Program, and surprisingly met my girlfriend because of Foursquare, I admittedly am a little biased towards foursquare, but their continued success is hard to ignore, and they continue to be a really popular social network. Some will argue that there are worries about privacy, but the company has really done a great job of stepping up by offering all of their users a vast array of options and settings to select from, further creating a user-friendly and business-friendly network for all to enjoy. Again, the service is free, so I encourage you and your organization to give this growing network a try; I’m anxious to hear your thoughts about Foursquare and your Foursquare experiences!
If you would like to learn more about how Foursquare can help you business, feel free to check out the Foursquare presentation I gave about this topic with a local group of business professionals. Also, I encourage you to visit AboutFoursquare.com for anything and everything related to Foursquare, check out their weekly podcast, and engage with other Foursquare users on the weekly #4sqCHAT TweetChat that takes place every Monday evening at 9pm EST. Finally, claiming your venue is really easy; feel free to contact me if you have difficulty getting through the claim process!
Dwayne Kilbourne is President & CEO of Kilbourne & Associates, Inc.