How to market your business with Foursquare

Marketing your small business can be a relatively simple task if you understand how to capitalize on all the various tools at your disposal. There are some tried-and-true tactics that you can always rely on – including direct mail, email and print advertisements – but using new websites can help you vary your content to create a compelling campaign. Foursquare has become one of the most beneficial sites that you can use to expand your marketing efforts and bolster online customer engagement. The social network allows users to digitally check in at various locations and then share the information with other contacts. The program is gamified, allowing users to win badges and points for certain behaviors. Consider the following tips so that you can successfully use Foursquare to market your businesses.

Lay claim to your business
The first step is to find your business and verify that you’re the owner. Fortunately, finding your establishment is pretty simple, especially if your customers are active on social media. Mashable points out that it’s likely that some of your patrons have already checked into your business so you can easily find it online. Once you click on your enterprise’s profile, you’ll be asked for some basic information before verifying your account. The news source notes you can either authorize the profile by phone (Foursquare will call you with a unique identification code to enter online) or by mail (you’ll receive the number on a post card). If you have multiple locations, “you can verify in bulk” so that you don’t have to repeat the process for every branch.

Include as much information as possible
Foursquare allows you to fill out a comprehensive profile so that users can easily find your establishment. You should include your business’ address and phone number, but the Social Media Examiner recommends going a step further and including your Twitter account. This will allow consumers to find your profile on the other social network, which can increase customer engagement. Additionally, the news source notes that you need to select the proper category so that your business appears in search results. Every option has subsections to help you better define your niche.

Create specials
Foursquare simplifies the process of offering promotions and discounts, especially compared to other social networks. According to Mashable, the site has a helpful program that explains how to create new deals that can motivate users to check in and visit your establishment. There are seven types of specials you can offer: swarm, friends, newbie, check-in, loyalty and mayor. These all have unique advantages, but some of them are a bit unfeasible. For instance, the check-in special means you have to offer a prize to every single user who checks-in to your establishment. This may seem great in theory, but can you really afford to offer a discount, even a minor one, to every single fan on Foursquare?

Loyalty and mayor specials are the best options for motivating repeat business. For the former, you can set different benchmarks so customers can earn new rewards for every visit. Consider offering a small discount for the fourth visit and a small prize for the tenth. The mayor special is for the user who checks in most frequently to your establishment. Create a special reward for this user so that other clients are motivated to come more often so they can become and supplant the mayor.

Write tips
Foursquare doesn’t only allow you to write about your business – you can also provide updates for other locations. According to the American Express OPEN Forum, you should capitalize on this feature by writing tips for hotspots to steer users to your establishment. For instance, if you’re near a stadium, you could recommend that consumers park near your establishment. The increased exposure can help you attract attention and generate leads.

The news source also notes that you can work with other local businesses to improve upon this strategy. You and other entrepreneurs can include referrals for each other so that customers are exposed to new establishments. The unified approach can take time, but the benefits are worth the wait. If done properly, you’ll have new clients because your partners kept recommending your goods or services.

Use other networks
Foursquare connects to other social networks so that you can ensure that all your followers know about your new profile. The site links to Facebook and Twitter so customers can see new deals and specials even if they don’t have a Foursquare account. Real Time Marketer notes that you should include your updates on all three networks to ensure that your fans never miss any information.

Foursquare might not be as popular as other sites, but it’s still a valuable resource for online marketing. Does your business use the social network? What do you think are some of the keys to success?

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Martin Jones

Martin Jones is a Senior Marketing Manager with the corporate Cox Communications social media team where he assists in leading strategy, campaign ideation and marketing execution for Cox Business social media & content marketing. Today, over 1 million fans engage with Cox Communications content, campaigns and Customer Care on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube. LinkedIn and Google+.