You’ve probably heard of Foursquare. It’s a location-based social media channel that a number of business centres and coworking spaces are already using. At the mention of “social media channel”, some of you are probably groaning inwardly, thinking “Not another social network…”
Yes, there are tons of social apps and networks out there, and some of them are about as useful for your business centre as a chocolate teapot. Others, usually a select few, have real measurable benefits that could offer some quite significant advantages to your marketing strategy.
One of those “potentials” is Foursquare. Launched in 2009, it’s a location-based social networking site designed for mobile devices. The idea is that you download the app onto your phone, and each time you visit a business venue – such as a coffee shop, restaurant, gym, or coworking space – you ‘check in’ using the Foursquare app.
It’s similar to check-in functions on other systems like Facebook. However Foursquare is a dedicated location-based service for bricks-and-mortar businesses, and it can offer some tangible benefits for operators of workspace centres. Among them:
- Publicity: Users can check-in publicly to your venue, which shares your location (including your business details) with the customer’s network connections.
- ‘Tips’: Foursquare users can leave feedback about your location in the form of ‘Tips’. Word of mouth marketing and friend recommendations are still the most trusted form of advertising, so it’s another way to shout about your service.
- Location: When business workers are looking for a local venue, some go straight to apps like Foursquare to see what’s nearby. If you’re listed, you’ll show up. If you’re not, it’s a missed opportunity.
- Connect: You can add other social media accounts, such as Twitter, to enhance your social media connections. Users also have the option of announcing their check-in via their personal Facebook and Twitter profiles.
- Loyalty: Its check-in functionality can help you to encourage loyalty. You might offer a promotion whereby so many ‘check-ins’ receives a special discount or a free sandwich in your cafe.
- Follow-up: You can follow-up directly with any customers who have checked-in, or published their check-in via other social channels, and establish a connection with them.
Research suggests that the use of traditional paper-based directories like Yellow Pages has declined over 50% in the last five years. Today, customers head straight to search engines and social networks to find the services they need.
According to Foursquare, 95% of mobile users rely on their devices for local search, and 90% of mobile phone searches result in either a purchase or a visit. So it’s vital to make sure your business is listed on relevant online directories – which includes social media networks.
Of course no system is perfect, and Foursquare has its drawbacks. One of them is maintenance. It is another social network to update, and once you’ve set up a profile you’ll need to check in yourself from time to time to ensure the details are correct.
You’ll also need to monitor any comments, both for accuracy and for criticism. You can’t please everyone, and you’ll need to deal with any negative ‘Tips’ posted about your business. Replying openly and publicly is often the best way to handle negative feedback, and you stand a good chance of winning your critics over – and even impressing others with your public display of top-notch customer service. Read more about interacting with customers here.
All things considered, Foursquare is most likely to benefit ‘drop-in’ spaces like coworking and hot-desk locations. However, your regular serviced office clients may already be checking in to your business centre and leaving tips or photos. There are now over 45,000,000 people and 1,500,000 businesses using the app. In fact, according to Foursquare, an estimated 93% of storefronts with local channels are featured – so your business is probably already listed. Why not capitalise on it?
Head over to business.foursquare.com to find out more and to get started.