Location, location, location.
That’s what it’s all about nowadays.
Social media is witnessing the rise-and-rise of location based services.. so much so that they are bordering on becoming mainstream.
Some would argue that location based services are already mainstream..
So what’s all this fuss about?
What are Location Based Services?
In the context of this post, this is called “checking-in“.. and is most commonly done at popular venues like restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, entertainment venues, parks, schools and universities, etc.
The driving force behind these location based services are GPS and location aware mobile devices.. and as long as these devices can connect to the internet, that user can pretty much check-in anywhere.
Integration with Twitter and Facebook
The awesome thing with these location services is they can be integrated with Twitter and Facebook.
This integration is beneficial for the person checking-in.. and the business owner.
If a user has connected their Twitter and Facebook accounts, every time they check-in somewhere this location may be,
- broadcast to all their Twitter followers (optional)
- published to their Facebook news feed for all their friends to see (optional)
If someone checks into a venue somewhere, they will also be notified of other people who are present at the same place.
People can also provide tips, reviews and recommendations about the place they have checked into.. eg, if a certain restaurant dish is very tasty.. or if the service at a particular venue is good/bad.. etc.
If a customer checks into a location often enough, they then become the Mayor of that location.
This is a badge of honor awarded to the person has checked-in the most at that location.. it also signifies the fact that this person is a loyal customer of this particular business.
Users can unlock a whole sway of badges for checking in to various places.
The team at 4squarebadges have compiled a full list of active Foursquare badges.
Business owner benefits
This integration allows additional awareness of your business as well as free advertising.
If a customer checks into your business.. this may then be published to their Facebook feed for all their friend’s to see.
Here is an example of me checking into a café for a coffee using Foursquare.. and being published to my Facebook stream,
Business owners who have adopted location based services often reward Mayors with freebies and discounts.. as a way of saying thank you for being a loyal customer.
And that’s what makes these social services very appealing,
- customers being offered and taking advantage of real world discounts
- businesses being given free advertising and positive/negative reviews
Kevin Rose gives an extremely insightful explanation about these social location services.. that as a business owner you may find very interesting,
There are quite a few location sharing services out today, the most popular presently include,
This post looks at the current king of geolocation services Foursquare.
I will show you how business owners can setup their business on Foursquare, to engage your increasingly mobile customers with “Specials“.
These specials are discounts and prizes you can offer your loyal customers when they check-in on Foursquare at your venue.
What is Foursquare?
“Foursquare is a mobile application that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. It is a friend-finder, a social city guide and a game that challenges users to experience new things, and rewards them for doing so. Foursquare lets users “check in” to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track the history of where they’ve been and who they’ve been there with.”
Step 1: Find friends
Download the Foursquare app to your cell phone and instantly link to your address book and Facebook and Twitter accounts to discover where your friends are hanging out. See if they’re near you by looking at where they’ve recently checked in.
If your phone doesn’t have internet access and you live in the U.S., you can use Foursquare via text message.
Step 2: Check in
Tell your friends where you are by checking in at one of the thousands of places Foursquare lists automatically based on your GPS location. Leave tips on special features you find around town and don’t skimp on the details: inside information is one of Foursquare best features.
If the place you’re at isn’t listed, you can add it to Foursquare.
Step 3: Learn tips
Check out tips from your friends and from the hundreds of thousands of other users — find recommendations on your specific location or suggestions for things to do — or avoid — nearby.
Step 4: Get out
The more you use Foursquare, the more you’ll get out of it. Unlock badges and earn points based on where, when, and how often you check in — see how many you can rack up in any given month, and check out your stats at foursquare.com.
Step 5: Gain power
Check in at a location more than anyone else and become the mayor — you don’t get a key to the city, but you might get rewards from certain businesses just for being a loyal customer.
Even if you’re not the mayor, look out for specials offered to Foursquare users.
Step 6: Use it everywhere
Use Foursquare wherever you go — in museums, at airports, on public transportation, during concerts — you never know when you might come across a little planned serendipity.
Foursquare and Your Business
As a business owner, you can use Foursquare to engage your increasingly mobile customers with foursquare “Specials,” which are discounts and prizes you can offer your loyal customers when they check in on foursquare at your venue.
If you offer Foursquare Specials to your customers, you will be able to track how your venue is performing over time with a set of venue analytics.. all for free.
Claiming your Venue
To claim your venue head over to the Foursquare Business page and enter the name of your business and its location.
Select your venue,
Click on Claim here,
Foursquare will now step you through the process of claiming your venue.. click on Let’s get started,
Confirm your business information, then click on Continue claiming this venue,
Confirm that you are authorized to claim this venue,
Click on Continue with the claim,
Is your business a chain?
Foursquare needs to verify that the address listed is actually yours and there are a couple of ways to do this,
- via phone
- via postal mail
- via your website’s contact page
.. and as I am trying to claim a beach as mine.. I am unable to proceed any further.
But you get the idea..
After this someone from Foursquare will contact you and confirm you are the authorized business owner,
Step 2 in the process involves creating your first special,
Foursquare offers several choices for how users can unlock your special:
- Mayor specials can be unlocked only by the Mayor of your venue (the user who has checked in the most in the last 60 days)
- Count-based specials are unlocked when a user checks in a certain number of times (“… on your 10th check-in”)
- Frequency-based specials are unlocked every so many check-ins (“… every 5th check-in”)
- Wildcard specials are always unlocked, but your staff has to verify some extra conditions before awarding the special (“Free drink with purchase of an entrée when you check in”)
After you have claimed your venue and created your first special.. Foursquare will get back to you to confirm your business account has been setup,
Once approved, verified business owners will be given access to a dashboard that displays all sorts of statistics about your venue giving you real-time information on your customers, allowing you to better optimize the promotions you’re offering them.
You will be able to see,
- most recent visitors
- most frequent visitors
- times of the day people check-in
- total number of unique visitors
- a histogram of check-ins per day
You can even order official stickers and window clings to display at your venue to alerts passers-by about your specials,
As a business owner, why not set yourself up on Foursquare and reward your loyal customers with specials and discounts.
The free advertising you will get from people checking in can’t hurt either!