My Foursquare Experience so far…
Like many other people over the past few months I have been using Foursquare quite a bit, as shown below. I have knocked up quite a few mayorships and badges, but sadly I have already found it very monotonous and not at all engaging.
To be fair, Foursquare is great at the beginning with collecting the badges, stealing mayorships, getting those “Foursquare specials” and “Sharing with your friends”. Well the last two I did not experience; working in Paddington I would presume that businesses would be flocking with specials, but sadly not, and in terms of sharing with friends I have none (on Foursquare). With myself not experiencing two of the most important factors of Foursquare, this has sadly hindered now a relationship with the platform (for now). In what I have found is a similar occurrence to Google+, the number of “real people” on there (and active users within the UK) is, I would imagine, not staggering.
Despite my negativity and social neglect of Foursquare as of this month, I do believe it will be a bigger issue this year amongst companies (especially SMEs and franchises) to start rolling out and using this social media platform. Using Foursquare has really helped me in understanding why businesses should start using this social media platform and how to use it most effectively.
Does your Business Foursquare?
If you were to ask most businesses about what social media platforms they use to market their company, I suppose you could name a few, popular ones being Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and if you are really savvy (but not really), Google+.
But how many of us have thought about using Foursquare as a marketing platform for their business? I am going to go out on a limb and say probably less than 5% use Foursquare and to its full potential; an infographic that I saw last year outlined the number of small businesses using social media, with Foursquare not even being mentioned in the Top 7. Even today, the fact remains that Foursquare is still not being recognised, which was exemplified when I took part in a business social media survey last night, shown below:
Shown from the screenshot, not only has Foursquare not been recognised, but what is interesting is that Google+ and Pinterest have not been included. Also, their list showed that wikis were a more of a popular option.
Should my business start using Foursquare?
As I envisage Foursquare to get bigger and better, businesses will find it particularly useful for:
There are many ways for your business to make the best use of Foursquare and making the“Foursquare Special” better. Here are my Top 6 Tips.
1) Make your check-ins more useful
As exciting as check-ins are, after a while users are bound to get bored of them, so capitalise on using them better; for example, it was reported by Tnooz that the Radisson Edwardian chain of hotels were offering guests the chance to keep their rooms for longer, if they checked in via Foursquare. The hotel chain gave guests an extra two hours in their room.
2) Review and monitor your tips section
Be sure to monitor your tips section and understand what people are saying about your brand via Foursquare. Not only is this a great way for “free market research”, it is like having the service of a mystery shopper without the costs.
3) Create location-based experiences
If your business has one or more location, don’t just have a standard special across all the branches. Include specific ones, for example if your business is near a seaside resort or within the city. Have a special offer that is unique to that place to ensure they that your branch capitalises on that specific location’s resources.
4) Capitalising on low-cost impulse items
This idea works particularly well for businesses that sell cheap items, that people buy on impulse. Reach out to people in the surrounding area to let them know of a “free cup of coffee with a cake” or “buy one doughnut, get one free.”
5) Marketing new/seasonal products
Broadcasting new/seasonal items is a great way of using the “Foursquare Special” to letting your consumers know of any new products or services available, and that they should try them out as soon as possible!
6) Understand and review your specials
When you set up “Foursquare Special”, don’t just have one special set up and done; alternate them and see what works best for you. For example, if you own a restaurant, don’t just have “free glass of wine for the mayor”, but alternate them – “5% off Winter menu for check-ins”, “20% off food bill for the mayor” or even “15% off total food bill on the 10th visit.” Play around with them to give new incentives and better engagement for the users.
2012 The Year of Foursquare (and the dragon)
With huge savings and partnerships already established in 2011 within the U.S, for example H&M, Sports Authority and Dunkin’ Donuts on board, I envisage that Foursquare will only get bigger and better for us in 2012, and be adopted as another popular social media platform to help businesses improve their sales.