foursquare: Discover New Places - Social Media Stage
foursquare is a location-based Social Networking site for mobile devices where users can save and share the places they visit via "check-ins". Check-ins put the excitement back into everyday adventures and gives consumers an incentive to try new places by awarding points when they check-in. As of April 2012, there has been over 2.5 billion check-ins on foursquare. Since its launch in the fall of 2008, the foursquare community is comprised of over 20 million people worldwide and nearly one million businesses. Let's take a look at the effectiveness of foursquare for businesses; foursquare may just be the right platform for your business!
foursquare is a unique way for brands to connect and engage with their audience. There are a number of ways for brands to use foursquare: offer specials, share local updates and expert tips. Brands can claim their business on foursquare to get real-time analytics about their customers, which can be used to tailor specials and status updates. Brands with physical locations (like Starbucks), can use the foursquare Merchant Platform to reach their fans and customers.
A great way to attract new customers and engage with current ones on foursquare is to offer a special. Specials are an incentive for users to check-in at a specific location and can range from discounts to rewards for loyal customers. You can use Local Updates to promote your special to fans in the nearby area.
Similar to a tweet or Facebook status update, Local Updates on foursquare are another effective method for reaching customers. Use updates to share photos, news about an upcoming event or a special you're offering. Updates are shared with your followers as well as customers who frequently check in at your locations.
Tips are another way to engage with the foursquare community. Once someone checks in, they can search for the best tips around the area. If they follow your brand Page, then your tip is listed at the top giving you more exposure.
foursquare is a great place to further promote and gain exposure for your brand. One way to build a strong presence on foursquare is to create a foursquare Page for your brand. Your foursquare Page becomes your Home page on foursquare and will be listed in the foursquare Page Gallery, which can help to build your audience. When someone "follows" a brand Page, they can receive specials and get expert tips from them when they check in. foursquare also gives users personalized recommendations and deals based on their location, their friends, and places that people with similar interests have been.
foursquare badges are "digital achievements" that a person gets after "unlocking" (or completing) a real-world action. For brands, the theory behind badges should be to motivate customer behavior in one way or another. Partner Badgers give brands the chance to do just that. Partner Badges can serve as a great promotional tool for a brand. A person is rewarded a Partner Badge after they follow a Brand Page and check in to your locations. In addition to earning badges, users can compete to become a foursquare Mayor.
Users love to battle it out for the chance to become the next mayor at their favorite venues. Until the user is within 10 check-ins of the current mayor, they really have no idea how far away they are from overthrowing the current mayor. The mystery of not knowing how many check-ins you need to become the next mayor entices users to seek out a brand more frequently. Once a user earns that title, the need for them to hold that position pulls out their inner competitiveness, and keeps them loyal to your brand.
Additionally, add the "Save to foursquare" button to your Website to let visitors know you are present on foursquare. When someone follows your page, they will get foursquare reminders from you when they're near your location(s) as well as other places you suggest. Also, visitors can connect to their Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, so every time they check-in at a location it will be posted to those networks as well for their friends and followers to see.
Though not the primary focus, driving traffic to your Website is possible through foursquare.
foursquare has recently launched a pilot program for Promoted Updates for businesses. Since the updates are targeted at those consumers who have shown interest in businesses similar to yours, it increases the chance that a consumer will click through to your Website. foursquare product manager Noah Weiss said "we're thinking of [Promoted Updates] as Google search ads for the real world, but instead of a Google ad driving traffic to a site like BestBuy.com we drive traffic to the actual Best Buy store."
foursquare is good for SEO in the sense that search engines continue to factor social signals into their algorithms. Thus, the more active a brand is on foursquare as well as other social media sites, the better their organic rankings will be as well. foursquare can also affect a business's local search ranking. After creating a foursquare account, be sure to claim it and make certain that all of the information is correct, especially your address. Additionally, include keywords in the description for a better chance of getting ranked on search engines.
Have you created a foursquare account for your brand yet? How are you using this Social Media platform, or what's holding you back? Let us know by using the #SocialMediaStage on Twitter, posting a comment to our Facebook Page or leaving a comment below!