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Local Business Marketing Solution

Jonny Darling Insight Leave a Comment

You carry a wallet to hold your money & bank cards, not someone else’s business card or your local café’s loyalty stamps! It’s predicted that before long the wallet will be a relic altogether as NFC and digital payments become standard trading practice* but for now let’s lighten the load by separating the cash from the cards! Small businesses up and down the country, previously reliant mostly on street-trade, can now firmly put themselves on the map… digitally!

Nobody “likes” Loyalty Cards ~ Announcing Foursquare for Business

Foursquare’s new business platform offers business owners the opportunity stake their claim to their business listings on Foursquare and manage their business page profile quickly and simply. The power to market their business is right in the palm of their hands in a neat clever little mobile smartphone app for iOS iPhone/iPad & on Google Play for Android devices. This relatively quiet development heralds a new direction for Foursquare into social media for business but should resonate far and wide as a milestone in marketing. The new Foursquare business app is poised in the eye of this perfect storm of SoLoMo marketing. Business owners have the perfect vantage point from which to survey the waters and chart their course to prime fishing territories!

Real People, Real Loyalty

Gone are the days of shop owners needing to reach far into their pockets for traditional advertising campaigns. Marketing is on the brink of transformation. Businesses realise they can win online with customer affinity, loyalty, endorsement. Consumers now turn to their smartphones for all of their reference and recommendation needs. Soon it will almost exclusively be other users who will guide them on where to go and how to spend. Others they trust; their friends on social networks, recommendations by word of mouth. Foursquare is at the heart of this reputation-based industry. Inbound marketing is all about customer service, providing the best digital consumer experience. Nobody likes a pushy salesman but we all need a helpful handyman from time to time. Provide a good service and people will use you again. They’ll also vouch for your services and recommend you to friends. We see Foursquare as perfectly positioned within the SoLoMo, or social-local-mobile, triangle. Users can now find exactly what they are looking for through real referral ratings from real people in real-time.

Reward-based schemes are a tremendously successful way to win repeat custom. We’ve been fans of loyalty programmes forever, especially MyGoodPoints.Org people power for good programme. We believe in winning customers, not paying for them and with the advent of gamification, customers also believe in winning. This is where social media can be so powerful, amplifying the good will of your adoring fans! What better way to thank people for their business than to reward them?

Foursquare for Business Notifcations

Foursquare for Business Features

  • Customer behaviour analysis & business sentiment analytics
  • Real time customer notification systems
  • Promotions section for deals of the day and repeat custom reward
  • Moderation and magnification of social reviews and recommendations
  • Business listing on Foursquare, on Google search results & Google Maps
  • Cross-promotion on other local business directories, Qype, YourLocal, GoldenPages, Yelp, Facebook for Business

Hip to be Square

In a bricks ‘n mortar business such as a café/restaurant, a reward might take the shape of a discount, a free special offer or reserved VIP seating. This allows establishments to build loyalty and attract fresh customers for little or no spend through Foursquare’s CGC, or Consumer Generated Content, platform. For instance, hungry Foursquare-rs can instantly see featured offers for a range of local businesses and seek out places their friends have recommended in the past.

claim business on foursquare

In order for local businesses to tap into the beneficial possibilities of Foursquare, they must first begin by claiming their business. The business verification process is similar to that of getting a Google map listing via Google Local Places for Business. It’s very simple and elegantly laid out. You log in with your personal foursquare account and search for your business name. You click to claim the business listing and Foursqaure asks you some user ID details, inc telephone number. It then brings you through to a verification screen where you can choose snail mail option of having a PIN sent to your business address or inputting your credit card to authorise your identity and receive a telephone call to your business number immediately.

foursqaure for business dashboard

The expedited verification is the way forward, it authenticates your claim for $1 and requests an immediate automated call-back from foursquare where you call out your name, business name and relationship to the business, before receiving a 5 digit PIN. Enter and you are straight on to your location dashboard.

foursquare business manager dashboardThe reward offered does not necessarily have to be a financial saving. Businesses should think outside the box by coming up with catchy incentives. Examples of this could be ‘Customer of the month’ murals, facilitating customers to gain peer social status. It could also be a fast-track queue for those who check-in regularly. The free foursquare Window Clings are a funky way for stores to inform customers about their foursquare business page and encouraging them to check-in to avail of special offers.

foursquare window cling business sticker

Business owners turned marketers can then begin to see the check-ins build and adjust their marketing accordingly along with a real-time view on real-world customer engagement. Foursquare’s business analytics dashboard is easy to understand and informative. Get a clear idea for whose been to your business, what they thought of you, your location, your products and customer service, see their shopping preferences and which specials they favourite. Gold-dust to businesses, the life-blood of any marketing initiative.

foursquare customer review analytics

Cautionary Note

Despite the clear benefits of a highly praised business on Foursquare, it may not be the ‘genie in the lamp’ instant solution it seems. The “jumping” trend, whereby users checking-in to places when they are not actually there mean results are bound to be skewed through abuse until this is controlled through facial recognition or mobile verification. There is also the very real risk of complaints about your business resulting in brand resentment. See for example the review of Johnnie Foxes pub in the Dublin Mountains. Furthermore, established sites such as TripAdvisor remain contenders to the throne of Foursquare’s local social network, as do household name Google, Facebook & Twitter. The crown rests heavy on the head of the king who will reign only as long as the subjects follow. Long live the Kingdom!

* 26/02/2013 update: Today foursqaure announced a partnership with VISA and MasterCard to integrate debit/credit card details into the foursquare app. Check-ins or other solomo engagement mechanics will further be encouraged in exchange for purchase price discounts or payment credit receipts.  It also heralds a turning point for NFC mobile payments as foursquare users make purchases directly via a check-in or coupon redemption, immediately authorising e-payments on VISA or MasterCard.

What is particularly interesting is that the payment processing companies have a vested interest in customers spending money (transaction fees). They see mobile payments as the nexus of a micro-payments economy, a society that transacts little and often, ever fattening the bottom line for the processing vendors. As such expect to see a whole lot of social check-in promotion behind this foursquare deal because when we spend via foursquare, the business wins, the financial services co’s win and foursquare wins.

Business Marketing Starter Package

We hope this article has been helpful. Special thanks to our talented digital market research analyst Emily @emcally. If you’d like to know more about our small business marketing products, we’d love to help.