Foursquare – A Business Boost?

Foursquare – A Business Boost?

Last week, I looked at the Top 10 Reasons People Check-In to Foursquare; with reason #10 being “to boost business.” Delving deeper into the business benefits of location based services, you’ll see many companies are finding creative ways to use such services like foursquare. And, with today’s consumers getting information in new ways, it’s a smart business move to take advantage of applications and networks that combine online and offline elements.

Even though Forrester Research found that only 4% of U.S. online adults have ever used location-based applications such as foursquare, Gowalla, or Loopt, more and more seem to be signing on each day. In fact, foursquare just recently hit the one million daily check-in mark.

So, what are the key business uses and benefits for foursquare and other such location based services? Well, I’m glad you asked…

Connections –This is especially beneficial when traveling or attending conferences. Finding out what other companies or colleagues are in the area through foursquare check-ins can lead to impromptu meet-ups, which can prove fruitful for business.

Promotions – Through badges, points, and special deals, local businesses are using foursquare to attract new customers and reward loyal returning customers. Foursquare members are able to get discounts and perks by becoming the “mayor” or frequenting the same venue, thereby providing more incentive to go back over and over again.

Endorsements – Foursquare allows users to broadcast a statement along with their check-in. And, while some of the comments may be trivial, if we take into account the fact that 34% use social media to broadcast their thoughts, whether positive or negative, about a company, brand, or product (as noted  in my post a couple months ago, Social Media, the New Voice of Advertising), the business endorsement possibilities grow significantly. On top of that, the ability for foursquare members to broadcast these comments to Twitter and Facebook instantly enables their thoughts to reach the masses.

Publicity ­– With each check-in, businesses are increasing their publicity through word of mouth, or, rather, word of check-in. These check-ins are essentially recommendations by friends that reach the public with each new stop, especially when accompanied by a personal message. And nothing is more reliable or effective than a peer recommendation. While this may seem similar to “endorsements” listed above, the real trick with publicity comes by adding tips. Anyone can add a tip to a location on foursquare and the best part is that when people check-in to venues near your business, tips in the area show up like the one below from the Independent Film Channel.

Presence – One of the most unique uses I’ve heard of for businesses using location based services is that foursquare enables companies to establish a presence where they would otherwise have none. For instance, at trade shows where your company may not have a booth, by setting up a foursquare “booth,” people can still check-in and make their company a happening place to be. Maybe someone wears a sign around with the words, “Check-in here, you found (Company).” Voila, you now have established a presence at a trade show! Cheesy? Yes. Effective? Well, it has potential.

Active Engagement – Location based social networks and services provide another way for companies to engage with their fans and consumers, which is something people want, and even expect. Cone Research conducted a study showing 93% of social media users think companies should have a social media presence, 85% believe companies should also interact with its community via social media, and 56% of users feel both a stronger connection with and better served by companies when they can interact with them in a social media environment. If that isn’t enough reason to get your company actively involved in social networks like location based services then I don’t know what is.

I’m sure as the phenomenon continues to grow, more and more companies will discover ways to make use of location applications like foursquare. How have you seen businesses using location based social networks effectively?

Top 10 Reasons People Check-In to Foursquare

Top 10 Reasons People Check-In to Foursquare

Last week, I looked at where people are checking-in on location based social networks like foursquare, but now I want to know why people are checking-in. Is it the accumulation of points? The attainment of new badges? The hope that your friends actually care where you are and will want to come join you? …What is it that drives people to check-in on the popular location based social network, foursquare?

According to BitsyBot Labs, 17 people check in to foursquare every second. With such a popular response to the social media tool, so much so that Facebook is even planning to implement location based updates, the reasons have to be good. And so they are.

Here are my top ten reasons for why people check-in to location based social networks:

1. To meet up with friends – Just like the NBA finals example I gave in my post, The foursquare Phenomenon Explained, location based social networks can be great for finding your friends in the city or seeing whose nearby so you can meet up.

2. To see what trending places are nearby – Bored? Check foursquare to see what’s in the area – probably more fun things than you realize. Or… recently, I found myself waiting an hour for a table at a restaurant. My stomach was protesting the wait, but I was not familiar enough with the town to start walking towards a new destination, which, with my luck, would take more than an hour anyways. With a stroke of brilliance, I was able to turn to foursquare to see what else was in the area and pick out a restaurant just a block away that had no wait at all!

3. To look up an address – I knew I was at P.F. Chang’s for dinner, but when my friend driving to meet me got lost and asked for the address, I had no idea. Luckily, foursquare displays the street address at each venue so you know you’re checking-in to the right place. I was able to pull up the address for her so she could enter it into her GPS and wouldn’t leave me waiting for another 20 minutes.

4. To show off and let your friends know what an awesome time you’re having – It’s sad, but true. Aren’t half the updates you see on Facebook about how awesome people’s lives are anyways? It’s okay – you’re cool and you want people to know it. Just invite your friends along and they’ll still love you 😉

5. To check up on people – Whether you’re an anxious mother or a paranoid boyfriend, being able to know where people are is sometimes a comfort. Just don’t go too far down the stalker route!

6. To earn points and play the game – foursquare gives you points each time you check-in and more points if it’s a new venue. You can even check the leader board to see how you’re doing each week compared to your friends and try and earn more badges. While this may seem a bit dorky, it’s actually a good incentive to get out and explore new areas of the city.

7. To kill two birds with one stone… or even three – When you check-in on foursquare, you can enter your own personal message and then automatically update your Twitter and Facebook accounts simultaneously. Voila, now everyone knows you’re rocking out at the House of Blues!

8. To keep track of your travels – If you remember from my post last week, travel was fairly high up on the list of types of venues people check-in to. But, if you’re like me, trips are often too short and crammed with too much. Your foursquare check-in history is a nice way to keep track and remember where you were. I just got back from D.C. last week and, just like in elementary school, my mom asked what I did that day… for probably one of the first times in my life, I was able to recall every place I visited, much to her detail-starved delight.

9. To stall for time – When meeting friends out, there’s always the one friend who’s punctual while the rest are just “five to ten minutes away.” I think smartphones were invited for the punctual people in the world. Checking-in to foursquare gives you something to do while you wait for the friends who are actually ten to fifteen minutes away.

10. To boost business – Last, but not least, many businesses are finding creative ways to use social based networks. How? Check back next week to see!

How have you used foursquare or other location based social networks successfully?