Foursquare Reaches Out to Attract SMBs

Well, hello there. Foursquare would like to remind small business owner that Yelp is not the only geo-location game in town. They’re still here. To help remind users, Foursquare has revamped its Business page to provide a step-by-step instruction guide detailing how business owners, brands, and even venues can use Foursquare to build awareness and attract customers. If you haven’t yet seem it, allow me to introduce you to the new Foursquare Business page. It will help break down everything you need to know about using Foursquare for biz and attracting customers.

The new Facebook for Business page does a good job differentiating about the two types of business owners who may use the service – Venue Owners and Brands – and offers different tips and recommendations for each.

As a Foursquare-using brand, the site will hold your hand to help you create a page, add tips, attract followers, learn about special badge criteria and offer information about how you can qualify for a Foursquare partner badge. As a venue, Foursquare will explain the different types of Foursquare Specials (Mayor, frequency, count, custom, regulars), how to discover specials, how to promote them, how to get venue stats and how to go about claiming your listing.

What I like about this new and improved page is that Foursquare really does a good job making something that could be complicated very simple and intuitive. And I think a lot of small business owners will appreciate that, especially those who have stayed away from geo-location services. There’s a lot of opportunity here to connect with users, but that doesn’t matter if SMBs aren’t sure how to use the platform. With this new guide, Foursquare does a good job here breaking down that wall and making sure they do.

It’s also worth noting that online-only retailers can also take advantage of the opportunities presented by Foursquare. You don’t need a physical location in order to get in, which is also made clearer here than previously. The guide also lets us know that we can expect a new tool to help business owners create a brand Page of their own, however, it’s not done just yet. In the meantime, anxious SMBs can build one manually by downloading this form and following the instructions.

While it doesn’t always get the same attention that Twitter and Facebook do, as a SMB owner you want to be aware of the opportunities presented by Foursquare even if you’re not ready yet to get involved. Last year John Jantsch of Duct Take Marketing wrote a killer post on the 7 reasons why small business owners should take a look at Foursquare and there are a lot of great truths to be found there. If you haven’t read it, I’d encourage you to.


Lisa Barone Lisa Barone is Vice President of Strategy at Overit, an Albany Web design and development firm where she serves on the senior staff overseeing the company’s marketing consulting, social media, and content divisions.

6 Reactions
  1. I used Foursquare quite a bit last year. I did it because it was a game and I wanted more mayorships than my friends. However, I soon got tired of playing the game.

    I see two ways Foursquare can succeed. One option is to play up the game aspect and make it more about competing with friends. In this scenario Foursquare could put prizes and awards out there to drive user adoption. The second option (which appears the direction they are currently going) is to have Foursquare be a check-in based loyalty program where businesses put up the awards and prizes. This is great and all, but there is a little bit of a “chicken and the egg” problem since I don’t really want to be checking in all the time unless there is incentive and the businesses don’t want to go to the trouble of creating their page and offering incentive if nobody is going to use it.

    Do you regularly use Foursquare Lisa? Why or why not?

  2. The just-released 2011 Ad-ology Small Business Marketing Forecast found that 14.0% of U.S. SMB owners found Foursquare to be somewhat or very beneficial to their business.

  3. This was interesting. We just got into the social networking fray and I’ve been wondering about Foursquare, thanks!

    Mrs. Downing

  4. That’s definitely what kept me from trying to utilize Foursquare for my business: I don’t have a set location. Now that they have this feature more prominent, I’m definitely going to look more into it.

  5. Lisa: “The new Facebook for Business page”? Do you mean the new Foursquare for Business page? 😉

    Robert: I haven’t used Foursquare so much yet, but I have become Mayor at some places that I frequently attend, e.g., my Rotary club and BNI chapter. I started out with Gowalla because it had more features that I like, e.g., photos and it was more used by my social media peers in Gothenburg, Sweden.

    I recently added my Foursquare feed on my Ego Sole Trader homepage and wrote a post with the title, “Kilroy Was Here…”

    Have you checked out Foodspotting yet? You could say that it is a combination of Foursquare, Instagram and Yelp. The fun part is that is has a positive outlook and you could find new favorite dishes and food stuff. I learned about from the latest episode of Net@Night with Leo Laporte and Amber Mac at @TWiT.