A little over a year ago MLT Creative asked me to become the company expert on the geo-location check-in mobile app, foursquare. Though I was reluctant at first (it sounds like a perfect app for creepy stalkers, amiright?), I am now a total convert and find foursquare to be one of the more frequently used apps on my iPhone. The explore function alone has resulted in many great finds when I travel in unfamiliar territory.
I noticed recently that foursquare introduced Local Updates for businesses. These updates enable businesses a more seamless (and helpful!) interaction with their customers (those who check in frequently or have liked the business by tapping the heart). It isn't necessary that these updates have a super sales-y message, but rather just timely information for people nearby who have shown interest in the business in the past. So, now a foursquare user chances of being in the right place at the right time will surely increase at those businesses that choose to utilize these tools.
For example, say you've been to a restaurant while traveling and you've checked in a few times. When you return on another trip, and you check in on foursquare, you may immediately see there are half-priced bottles of wine. You don't technically have to do anything to claim that deal; you get it just for being there and knowing that the promo is running. I call that a major score, surely something to get excited about. It's like you're a part of a special secret loyalty club --which is what this whole checking in thing is all about.
If you manage a foursquare venue, this update function means you can make a stronger connection by rewarding your loyal fans with updates. On the flipside, businesses can even possibly respond to complaints left as foursquare tips. Or, maybe that's better left for sites like Yelp . How cool would it be if the complaint I left as a tip at a random Wendy's that I stopped at on the way to the beach last month resulted in a manager responding to the concern and offering me a free frosty on a return visit or something? Little touches like that go a long way but since the complaint was left unanswered, you couldnt pay me to stop at that particular Wendy's ever again.
Although I'm using mainly B2C examples, this idea of having an open, helpful and genuine dialogue with customers surely extends to the B2B space. As the resident foursquare expert/enthusiast, I actually co-authored a foursquare how-to guide for an automotive remarketing client. Foursquare Local Updates for business and other tools will be beneficial to those automotive auction managers for wishing to connect with their audience, the used car dealers who visit the brick-and-mortar auctions locations every week. Say a dealer checks in for a sale and it turns out that transportation assistance is half-off on that particular day--and he didnt have to do anything but check in and see that info. (unlocking a special wasn't required). I think that's huge, and very exciting for any business that really uses foursquare to its potential.
Sarah E. Young is an Account Executive with the Atlanta advertising agency MLT Creative which specializes in business-to-business marketing.