There have never been so many people willing to talk about exactly where they are and what they’re doing in exchange for incentives. The location-based service Foursquare offers individual users the chance to share where they are and get recommendations on where to go next. At the same time, businesses can attract new visitors and build customer loyalty.
As a small business, you’re probably blown away by the figures: 20 million users worldwide are on Foursquare, and they have racked up 2.5 billion check-ins! If you can attract even a small percentage to your business, you’ll be doing well.
Here are 5 tips on using Foursquare to promote your small business.
1. Don’t be shy – claim your business as soon as possible!
If your business has a physical location, you can claim it. For example, if you’re a business attorney Orange County CA, then claim your location. This marks you as the manager and allows you to take advantage of Foursquare’s tools to attract users. Search for your business to see if anyone has added you to the site already (they probably have). Once you find your business, claim it and get started by updating your information if it’s inaccurate. Put the window cling that Foursquare mails to you in your window so people know they can check in.
2. Offer something free for every check-in.
The best way to start accumulating check-ins quickly is to incentivize it. If people get something small for free just for checking in, they may choose your business over another similar business that doesn’t offer them something free for doing it. It may be something as simple as a beverage, appetizer, or a cookie! This is called a check-in special and you can set it up through Manager Tools.
3. Attract new customers with a special.
You can start a special for newbies who haven’t visited your business before by offering them a small token gift as a freebie when they check in for the first time. Offer a free small gift and people will try out your business just to get the freebie. If you do well with other aspects of service (atmosphere, customer service, food quality, etc), people will return over and over.
4. Print flyers for your employees.
Make sure that your staff members know what’s going on. You can print flyers that show your employees what customer check-ins look like so they know what to look for. As you create new specials, make sure all your staff members know about it by announcing it to them or posting these flyers in a specific place with special attention drawn to new specials with a sign or highlighting.
5. Use the Foursquare Tips section.
Ask your customers with a sign at the cash register or on the door to leave a Tip for you online. Satisfied visitors will have glowing praise that will attract more potential loyal customers. You can also use this section to highlight things such as special offers and news yourself, as long as you do so in moderation.
These are some of the easiest ways to get started promoting your small business on Foursquare. Be sure to investigate every type of special, including flash specials (which create an instant buzz) and friend specials (so people will bring others to your business). Mix up your offers now and again, but keep one consistent special going such as a newbie special or a check-in special so people will always want to return.