With over 4 million members, Foursquare, a geo-location check-in mobile application, is on the rise. Due to the app’s success, B2B companies are now asking whether they should hop on the bandwagon and join this new social media channel. At this point, the real potential for Foursquare remains with small businesses, because it can be used as a tool to effectively addresses the two issues that really matter to growing a business: the acquisition and retention of customers.
So what is Foursquare anyway? It’s a social networking website that allows Smartphone users to “check-in” when they visit stores, businesses, their favorite hang-out spot or even their own house. Users can leave comments and recommendations when they check-in. The app can also be used to find nearby places to visit or to receive discounts from businesses. The person who checks into a location the most becomes the “mayor” of the location.
Now imagine that you are a local hardware store owner. How could you use Foursquare to reward your “mayor” and use him/her to build your contractor alliances? The loyalty of the Mayor certainly deserves a hefty reward. Since that individual is visiting your business frequently, you might consider offering him or her perks like a free window for every six windows he or she purchases. Now in addition to rewarding your mayor, you’re building a customer loyalty program that keeps your biggest contractor coming back for more. That’s a win-win for sure.
The points, mayorships and badges built into the Foursquare experience have been very popular with early adopters. It is all about the gamification of the experience with the business, yet from our viewpoint, badges provide no immediate or long term value to users and aren’t even actual things other than they look cute.
To roll out a Foursquare app, it helps to engage your employees. Ask them to check-in when there are client meetings or events, such as a skill workshop to demonstrate a new industrial power tool. They can also use comments to recommend good restaurants or other attractions in the area. When your employees check-in, they show the personality and enthusiasm of your business to customers and clients, which also helps build your brand.
As with Facebook and other social media applications, you will need to concentrate on starting and growing your company’s “friends-list.” There’s no point in having employees check-in and leave recommendations if your customers aren’t going to see their posts. Just like every other social networking website, Foursquare takes time. It’s all about movement, so it’s vital for employees to check-in as often as possible so clients can see what your company is up to, as well as engage in conversation.
Foursquare is definitely worth exploring for small B2B companies because it’s a free, fun way to help your company standout from the competition. Customers are more likely to recommend your company to others if they have a personal relationship with your employees. Foursquare can also help you maintain your other social networking websites because it can be linked to Facebook and Twitter. Use your creativity and you may find even more ways to tap this tool to grow your business and community.