Marketing Tip of the Month: How to Use Foursquare to Benefit Your Business
While Google, Yelp and TripAdvisor get all the attention for helping people find hot new joints, Foursquare is an often overlooked but powerful tool for small business owners to attract local customers.
If you didn’t know, Foursquare City Guide is a web and mobile application that helps customers find places to go nearby. The recommendations are sorted by venue type, location and what other people are saying about it. Along with its sister application, Swarm, Foursquare has over 50 million users who check in at over 8 million locations daily, worldwide.
Learning how to maximize results on the platform is therefore vital for brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs. Your customers increasingly rely on their phones to direct buying and spending practices. That means you need to be visible where they’re already looking. For our marketing tip of the month, master these pointers on how to use Foursquare for business.
Control Your Foursquare Business Listing
The first step to learning how to use Foursquare for business is to take control of your profile. For a small fee, you can claim your store’s Foursquare page, which allows you to make edits, curate photos and create ads. You can even view helpful statistics, such as your store’s popularity with Foursquare users, and who your best customers are.
Sweat the Details
Be as detailed as possible when filling out your profile, and make sure your categorization fits the nature of your business. Foursquare suggests venues to users based on what they are looking for, so accuracy will make your store easier for the right customers to find. Filling out your page also lends the page more credibility. Unlike a user-generated profile, a “claimed” page is managed by the store’s owner, so customers feel they can trust the information presented.
Whether you are adjusting business hours, moving to a new address or switching phone numbers, make sure your Foursquare business listing reflects changes as soon as possible. Nothing is more frustrating for a potential customer than showing up excited to make a purchase, only to find you close early on Sundays.
Use specials to reward customers who check in at your business and give potential guests even more reason to stop by. If your business is a restaurant, you might offer a free dessert, or a drink with their meal. A retailer might offer a 10 percent discount, or a small gift with their purchase. Be creative with your offer, and encourage customers to take advantage of it. Checking in lets your customer’s friends know where they are. That means the more people who check in, the more visibility your business will have.
Read What People Are Saying
Foursquare allows users to leave “tips” on places they have checked into. These can be positive, such as recommendations for dishes they loved, as well as complaints about bad experiences. Pay attention to what you are doing right, and areas you can improve on. A few negative comments are to be expected, but if multiple people are complaining about the same thing, it may be time to make an adjustment.
Tip Your Customers
You can also create tips on your Foursquare business listing to let people know something they may not otherwise. For example, you could suggest what your restaurant’s specialty is, what time “happy hour” is, or if new items go on sale every Friday.
Promote Your Listing
For small business owners with limited marketing budgets, advertising on Foursquare may be a cost-effective way to drive traffic. Rather than charging for how often your ad is shown, or impressions, you only pay when a customer views your profile or visits the store. The Foursquare website features several notable success stories of small businesses who saw enormous returns on relatively small investments in advertising on their platform.
Be sure to explore all the promotional options available. Aim to target customers that are already looking for businesses like yours. For example, you can pay to be listed first when customers in your area who search for keywords such as “bars.”
Research Your Customers
For street-side establishments looking to drive foot traffic, using Foursquare for business is a no-brainer. However, some entrepreneurs may also benefit from a better understanding of their clientele. For that, the company offers a subscription service called Foursquare Analytics that provides key data points and insight on visitors to your location. Real-time analysis of who your customers are can help you tailor marketing campaigns, time staffing arrangements with peak hours of traffic, and identify demographics where there is opportunity for growth.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.