Claim your Business on Foursquare and Gowalla
Geo-location applications like Foursquare and Gowalla are really going places, becoming increasingly popular with tech savvy customers. These location-based social networks are meant to track where you and your friends are as a means of meeting up. People seem to enjoy “checking in” to a location, acquiring badges and random honors like “mayor,” then sending these alerts out to Facebook and Twitter even more than they do actually communicating within the original service. The bigger picture here illuminates the Internet marketing-enabled give-and-take: users acquire a status and are rewarded after visiting these establishments, and the owners are able to reach a new audience through a new channel to woo them into their businesses.
Businesses can digitally claim their venues, monitor traffic, keep track of patrons, and receive valuable data about who is checking in where and when.
The goal is to entice users of these applications to come to your business, check in, tell their networks, and ensure repeat business by rewarding them with a coupon or special. For instance, the “mayor” of your business on Foursquare is the customer who has checked in at your business the most. Maybe you reward them with 20% off everything they purchase. This encourages others to visit more often and try to become “mayor.” So, as you reward one loyal customer, others fight to dethrone them, ensuring multiple repeat visits but only rewarding a single customer. On a busy night, let’s say in downtown Orlando, one bar amongst the din of other bars could have a buy one get one free special that becomes unlocked after checking in. This could potentially go viral in the microcosm of downtown as patrons check in and notify everyone in their network to come to this bar for the great deal.
If you are late to the geo-location game, you may find that someone has already created your venue to fill the void you left open. Clamoring to tell friends where they are, this often happens when they can’t find your business in the databases of these services. So the services allow users to create the locations they want, so that they can check-in. Now, as a business owner, you decide to jump into the game only to find one or maybe two apocryphal locations. If this happens, don’t worry. Both Gowalla and Foursquare allow you log in to their business sections and claim that business as your own. They actually physically verify that you are an owner or manager of the establishment and merge the imposter locations with the actual, verified venue. All of the user data and check-ins come together and are automatically added to your location. Once an owner steps in to claim the venue, it may only be a few days before the false ones are removed, and the verified account now flourishes. From this point, you are free to create deals, inviting customers to check in, and easily opening a new avenue to reach a broader audience.
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