Foursquare is a location-based social application game which brings local businesses in Malta and all over the world together with customers. The game itself is centered around earning badges but Foursquare can be much more than a mere game – especially to local business owners. With Foursquare, users are able to check-in to local establishments like restaurants, bars, stores and hotels using their smartphones. They are able to give tips to others and share their location with their friends.
Foursquare can provide a Maltese business owner with a remarkable way to market his/her business because it makes the process of social discovery and check-in fun. Millions of times each day, people are using Foursquare to check-in and share with others where they are and what they are doing. Regardless if a user is visiting a favorite shoe store, checking out a new diner or meeting friends for drinks, they are chronicling and sharing their activities using their mobile devices. A business owner on Foursquare can be a big part of that experience. This platform allows businesses the opportunity to find new customers and to form better relationships with the customers they already have.
For no cost at all, local businesses in Malta can set up promotions, arrange give-aways and build networks of friends and customers on Foursquare using the available business and manager tools. An example of this is a local toy store that has joined Foursquare. The platform is used to offer a special 10% discount to any user that has checked into the toy store. Using Foursquare in this manner is a good way to maintain and keep awareness and interest alive in the toy store at no cost. It is free to register and to set up a venue or business on Foursquare and it is also free to run a ‘special’. A business owner is allowed to change or add variations to its special as it progresses. Foursquare also offers a bit of added value in that it integrates with other social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
If you are a local business owner who is unfamiliar with Foursquare, it is quite possible that people are using this application to check-in to your business each day without you even knowing it. You probably know that social media marketing works best when you can get a dialog or relationship established between you and your customers. So the quicker you set up your business on Foursquare, the faster you can get these dialogs going because Foursquare is all about being social. In light of the fact that anyone can list a business on Foursquare, yours might be there already. However, you will need to set up an account with Foursquare to “claim” your listing so that you can edit it and make the most of this remarkable social application that is growing by the day.
Getting Listed on Foursquare
In order to get listed on Foursquare, visit the website and then type in your business name and location. If your business already exists on the platform, you will see a tab marked “Do you manage this venue? Claim here”. Click on the tab and then follow the directions so that you can take control of the tools. You will have to verify your address, state that you are authorized to claim the venue, choose an email address and specify whether or not your business is a part of a chain. You can expect to receive a phone call from a Foursquare rep to verify that you are who you say you are.
Setting up Specials on Foursquare
Specials are designed to give users rewards for checking into your business. Specials also encourage users to share information about your business with their friends. You can choose to offer specials to new customers who check-in, to those who have checked in a set number of times or to those who have checked in the most over a specified period of time. What exactly your specials are is completely up to you. You can offer money off, freebies, special limited time discounts, etc.
To manage your specials, simply visit the “Manage Specials” page on the Foursquare business management site. When first starting out, you can only run one special at a time and every special has to be approved by Foursquare. It is very simple to set up a special as there are only a few steps involved.
How Specials are Found
An existing or potential customer will be able to find your special when they have the Foursquare app open to check-in to a business. He or she will probably do this by hitting the big ‘Check In’ tab which will provide a list of nearby venues. If your business is in the list of nearby locations and you have a special to offer, a large orange ‘Special Here’ button will appear at the top right of your business page. The user can then click the button to see your special. Foursquare users are also able to hunt for specials using the ‘Explore’ button in the app. You will see, once you have a special to offer that people will start unlocking it so that they can redeem the deal. So be ready for more business as it is all but sure to arrive – as long as your special is attractive of course!
Becoming a Foursquare Business Guru
If you really want to optimize your Foursquare marketing tactics you can offer incentives to your customers if they share tips and photos of your business with their friends. Foursquare tips are sent to users who are nearby your business. These tips give your venue a lot of good exposure and make it come across as legit to those who may not be familiar with you. Use your creativity and give your loyal customers something of value so that they are likely to share tips about your business with their friends.
Good Reasons to Join Foursquare Now
Foursquare has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in March 2009. This community is designed for people who are on the go. It helps users find local businesses so that they can check-in and let their friends know where they are or where they have been. There are already 15 million people using this platform and a whopping 1.5 billion check-ins have happened with millions more occurring each and every day. As of January 2012, over 750,000 businesses have used the merchant’s platform.
Everyone these days loves getting a discount or freebie and Foursquare check-ins are quickly becoming the new discount ‘coupons’ for local businesses. One of the hottest areas in mobile technology is geo-location based services and Foursquare is just that. It allows people to openly engage with each other. Foursquare also gives local business owners the opportunity to maintain relationships with their regular customers and to attract potential customers by promoting their brands in real time.
The typical Foursquare user is young, college educated and employed. He or she is a heavy user of online social media platforms and is actively engaging his or her friends and acquaintances with the businesses he or she frequents. This person has money to spend, is highly mobile and most importantly, is very influential. Local businesses have much to gain by jumping on the Foursquare bandwagon as existing customer relationships can be strengthened and potential customers can be driven through the doors.