By Lily Bradic
If you think the social networking site Foursquare is only of use to restaurants and fast food outlets, think again. People check in at gyms, churches, grocery stores and gas stations (no, we don’t know why, either). You might even find people have already been checking in at your business, and you only need to claim ownership.
Most people use Foursquare to share where they’ve been with their friends. Some users will also rate restaurants, upload photos (see, people who Instagram their food aren’t all bad), leave comments, and recommend your products or services to other users.
A large majority link their accounts to their Facebook and Twitter, too — and that’s exactly why you can’t afford not to be on Foursquare.
For the local business owner, Foursquare is free advertising of the best kind: organic, word-of-mouth recommendation. Your customers do all the legwork and your social media presence increases without you having to do a thing. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
On Foursquare, the user with the most check-ins in one place becomes the “Mayor” of that location, and many companies offer Mayor Specials (discount coupons) to these users. Of course, it’s good manners to reward your loyal customers, but for some, the honorary title itself will be enough of an incentive to check in.
It doesn’t cost you anything to be on Foursquare (although you can speed up the verification process for $10) and you really have nothing to lose. The gaming aspect of the site keeps users coming back to claim badges and maintain mayorships, and because checking in is so easy, you’re likely to get more activity on Foursquare than you are on Google+ or Yelp.
We’re not saying that Foursquare is the be-all and end-all of small business reviews, but use it alongside Google+ Local (as we discussed last week) and Yelp, and you’ll be well on your way to putting your business on the map!