It has often been said that if the web is a two-way street, then location-based services are the four-way intersections. Foursquare is one of the services that are defining how people discover new places through location awareness. Foursquare incorporates this ability with a social element. We all know that social media works best when there is engagement. How does Foursquare fare in this? According to the site:

“People use foursquare to ‘check-in,’ which is a way of telling us your whereabouts. When you check in someplace, we’ll tell your friends where they can find you and recommend places to go and things to do nearby. People check in at all kind of places – cafes, bars, restaurants, parks, homes, offices.

You’ll find that as your friends use foursquare to check in, you’ll start learning more about the places they frequent. Not only is it a great way to meet up with nearby friends, but you’ll also start to learn about their favorite spots and the new places they discover.”

So, if the definition is accurate, it seems you have a tool that you can leverage to help grow your business. So, let’s get this party started.

Offer specials

Research has shown that check-in apps are a favorite for people locating offers and deals. Using Foursquare, however, takes a whole new approach. The range of offers available makes it possible for businesses to reward customers who check in, thus maintaining loyalty to your small business brand. A “special” icon pops up whenever a user clicks on the Check-in button alerting him or her of a special close by.

Monitoring tools

One of the advantages of unlocking your location on Foursquare is that you get access to a list of monitoring tools for your business. While claiming your venue opens up many possibilities for giving out customer incentives, it also unlocks free monitoring tools for your business on Foursquare. Venue statistics offer real-time data on:

  • Total daily check-ins for your business
  • Most recent visitors to your establishment
  • Most frequent visitors to your business location
  • Gender of your customers who check in
  • What time of day people are checking in
  • What portion of check-ins are being broadcast to Twitter and Facebook

This is valuable business data that can help you better serve more targeted specials. Walk-in businesses can especially benefit from the use of these Foursquare tools.

Tools for building loyalty

Why does retaining a customer matter so much? According to The Harvard Business Review, it can cost anywhere between five to nine times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain one. Unfortunately, only nine percent of businesses understand this reality. The customer experience is the primary factor in customer retention.

For small businesses, two things matter most: acquisition and retention. Foursquare makes it possible to bring back that nostalgic, remember-your-name kind of loyalty that consumers look for. This kind of loyalty never goes out of style. Foursquare makes it possible for small businesses to remember seemingly small details about customers from their names to their favorite drinks.

Local updates

Another amazing feature of Foursquare is the ability to push local updates and have them displayed to people within the vicinity. If you have a new shipment or just launched a new store, you can send out the update either as news or as photos of your latest collection. These updates are then immediately sent to your Facebook wall together with an accompanying tweet by authorizing FourSquare to access your Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can also share your likes, saves, badges, tips, lists, and mayorships to your timeline from Foursquare.

If you have been thinking about using location-based services to find customers, Foursquare not only helps you get new leads, but has the right tools to help you retain those customers once you find them.