Business on Foursquare

“Why should I or my business be on Foursquare?” —It’s a good question that I hear all the time. Free services can require some hefty investment of time to get them up and running. The skepticism is understandable. It seems that many people have barely even heard of Foursquare, which leaves a lot of local business owners wondering what Foursquare is and how it even works; let’s start with what Foursquare is:

What is Foursquare?

Foursquare is a free app that helps you and your friends make the most of where you are. When you’re out and about, use Foursquare to share and save the places you visit. And, when you’re looking for inspiration for what to do next, we’ll give you personalized recommendations and deals based on where you, your friends, and people with your tastes have been.”— foursquare.com/about

In a nutshell, it’s an app (available for iPhones, Android, Windows, and BlackBerry devices) that allows a user to “check in” to a specific location, search for businesses, and explore the area around them. It’s useful and fun for individuals but even more powerful for businesses.

Consumers have embraced social media for years (how many people do you know who don’t have a Facebook account?), but there’s another trend in town: we’re returning to the concept of supporting our communities. People everywhere are seeking ways to support local business, and they’re using social media to do it. Foursquare puts your business right in the middle of these two important trends, at the crux of everywhere and right here.

When looking for a place to grab a quick lunch, Foursquare users turn to the Explore section. Foursquare Explore provides suggestions based on where they—and their friends—have already been, and shows what others have to say about the business. Is the soup surprisingly good? Are the prices unbeatable? Users leave tips for others and save tips they find helpful.

For businesses, this is huge opportunity and it doesn’t cost a thing. With over 10 million active monthly users, Foursquare is the de facto hyper-local social network, ranked behind only Facebook as the leading social networks in the country. Take a look at AdWeek’s report for details on the Foursquare audience and what it means for businesses. Additionally, the data that Foursquare provides your business is valuable. You can use check-ins to measure foot traffic in your store, your area, or even a competitor’s store giving you a window into where your customers are and where they like to go.

A good businessperson knows that customers are the lifeblood of their venture; they’re why you’re in business in the first place! Foursquare provides your business with demographic information on your best customers, giving you rich insights on the people you’re serving. Foursquare tips also provides a channel for your customers to let you know what you’re doing right and what you may need to work on. “The service is a little slow” is an opportunity for both improvement and engagement with your customers. If someone says something that is out of line, Foursquare businesses have ways of managing that.

One last thing about Foursquare is the inherent share-ability. Many users connect their Foursquare account to both Facebook and Twitter to instantly show off their favorite places. This effortless sharing expands your businesses audience to individuals you wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise, with the added benefit of costing you nothing and carrying the weight of a friend’s recommendation. Social referrals are important, with 90% of people believing recommendations from friends. It’s word of mouth, faster than ever before.

If you’d like to learn more about how Foursquare can help you, come say hi at 323 Creative Group. Our mission is to help your venture succeed by providing deep, meaningful connections to the local community. We’re always up for a friendly chat!

On why I have not recently written

The short answer: life is busy and I probably have some degree of an attention disorder.

Actually, that first part is not entirely true. Life is busy, but it really hasn’t affected my time for writing. I just haven’t been writing here. I think it’s some kind of odd internal struggle that I’m going through. Trying to find the balance between saying nothing and saying nothing of value. I’ve noticed this a lot in my recent journals and usage of social media. On one hand, I want to capture more of the moment (see Instagram and Twitter), sharing things as they occur to my unbelievably overactive mind. But on the other, I want to be more reserved, fleshing out my ideas before committing them to the infinite memory and scrutiny of the Internet. I want my stuff to matter, so I’m writing less fluff. (As an aside, I wonder if parenthetical insertions could be logically included in digital prose as <abbr> tags.)

Keeping a journal has likely affected the frequency of my writing as well. I’ve been keeping a Moleskine with me for the entire month of May and I’ve been filling it up with my beautifully horrid handwriting. It gives me a place to write down the thoughts that aren’t quite ready for prime time – you know, to let them mature a little (or for me to annotate in the margins with remarks like “this is rubbish” or “am I retarded?”). It also acts as an outlet for my writing, which doesn’t flow in a river great enough to supply both a full on journal and a regular blog. Not yet, anyway.

Twitter has become my primary online sharing medium, I think. At least for the moment. My tweets are posted to Facebook (something that I have mixed feelings about), so you can keep up with me there. Maybe I’m just looking for more sharing, interaction and networking and less ranting or public babbling. Follow me and see the articles and various other things that are inspiring me at the moment. I’m all about curation, so I try to keep away from the “here’s my sandwich” stuff – unless, of course, it’s a really good sandwich.