Why Small Business Should Use GeoLocation Networks

It might seem completely dumb, and a waste of time to you, but people love to brag about where they are and who they are with.  They love it even more when they can snag a deal out of it too.  That is why, if you are a small business, you can’t afford to not be clued into what is happening with GeoLocation networks like Foursquare these days.

Those of us who enjoy our privacy might not understand it.  Frankly, I’m right there with you.  I don’t care if Suzy Q knows that I love eating organic, grass fed sirloin.  However, Suzy Q might want to tell you and 1,000 of her friends that they really need to try the buffalo chicken pizza at Mellow Mushroom (it’s delicious btw,) where she is eating RIGHT NOW.  You might think it’s stupid that she is sharing those details, but you will most likely become very curious about that pizza or Mellow Mushroom.  I’m right, because you listen to your friends suggestions about food, retail, services, and other business before you listen to traditional marketing campaigns.  I’m not trying to infer that traditional marketing is dead (it certainly is not,) but I am suggesting that the power of social media, and especially GeoLocation, is something that small business has, for the most part, failed to harness or realize… yet.

If you are a small business and you realize that you must have a living web presence (website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc,) then you are most likely on the fence of whether you need to worry about GeoLocation.  This post is directed to you.  If you are a small business and you don’t believe that having a web presence is worth your time or money, then by all means, keep doing what you’re doing.  Your competitor and I have work to do.

GeoLocation, from a marketing standpoint, provides extremely valuable metrics that you can use.  Foursquare has been so kind as to give us their own analytics report, which is fairly useful for tracking down your customers that have adopted GeoLocation already.

Yes, GeoLocation is still very new.  If you have 100 friends on Facebook, around 10 of them might actually be using Foursquare right now.  I forsee this as being something similar to the Facebook and Twitter boom.  Four years ago, if you were a big business and you were not on Facebook or Twitter, then you were behind.  Six months from now, if you are a small business and you are not on Foursquare, then you are behind the game.

Here are a few reasons why you should consider claiming your GeoLocation services and actively use them:

  • People are already checking in:  Go ahead and explore Foursquare for yourself.  You may notice that your location (if you are currently sitting there on your iPhone) is already listed on Foursquare.  If this is true, then your fans are already telling people about you.  Wouldn’t you rather take control, know who is checking in, how old they are, and whether they are telling their Twitter followers or Facebook friends?  Why wouldn’t you!?!?
  • You might be discovered:  If you are a small business, hidden somewhere that does not get a lot of foot traffic or visibility from the street (HELLO! Small, corner restaurant! Listen!,) GeoLocation apps can help you become discovered.  The social revolution has made people a bit more adventurous (and openly critical) when it comes to food choices.  There are GeoApps specifically made for restaurants, and pubs, but Foursquare still reigns when it comes to food bragging.  New fans can even leave tips about your food.
  • Connect with your clients just to say, “Thanks.”:  When someone gives you excellent customer service, do you not tell other people about it?  It’s only natural that we get pumped up about customer relations because it seems so rare.  What if your small business can achieve the same goal?  Twitter folk love being called out by their favorite lunch spot, or shopping boutique.  It let’s them know that they are appreciated.  Leaving a good taste in your customer’s memory will leave them coming back for more, and most likely have them bringing back their friends as well.  Those who opt in to GeoLocation will often connect their Twitter or Facebook account to the service.  If they connect their Twitter account, you are in luck, because you now have access to their username.  Send a simple shout out to them publicly to say, “Thanks for coming by!”  ***If you’re really good, you will pay attention to check-ins instantly on Twitter with lists.  Reward those who stop by for dinner with a free dessert if you can.  They’ll tell the world!***
  • Learn Your Demographics:  In the first screen shot below, you will see some very telling information about a chiropractic service…  The sex of the clients, and the age of the clients that are using Foursquare.  You will notice that the majority of those checking in are males, which is very different from the norm.  You should also note that they are also around the age of 35-45.  So they’re probably dads (location is set in the ‘burbs.)  If you make an effort to have your clients check in, you can learn even more about them and use that information to drive your marketing efforts in print, email campaigns, and social media.  Sure, these metrics aren’t that impressive, but this small business has 13 clients who like them enough to tell all of their Facebook friends where they get their adjustments.  Imagine their online impressions if half of their clients checked in.
FoureSquare Analytics
So if no one is really using GeoLocation yet, why should you jump on board?  Because young people are checking in at restaurants and now their parents are starting to check in at their chiropractors.  The movement is already happening.  GeoLocation will gain even more popularity as the lines between traditional advertising and social influence become blurred by the hour.
If you are a restaurant or retail location, it would be wise to jump into Foursquare and claim your location, like, yesterday.
Anitco Pizza in Atlanta is a Foursquare dream!
What do you think about GeoLocation for small business marketing?  Leave a comment!