Why Checking In to Geotagging Services is Most Important for Small Businesses

June 3, 2010

There's a lot of discussion going ar ound about the potential marketing opportunities involved with geotagging services such as Foursquare and Gowalla. And with Facebook exploring the possibility of integrating geotagging in their mobile applications, the opportunities are becoming more enticing.

While most articles on the topic discuss the opportunities for large national brands, perhaps the greatest opportunity lies in the hands of local businesses. Foursquare invites any business to utilize their Foursquare Specials service – rewarding users who check-in to the business on their phone – no matter the size of the company.

Businesses have control over who they reward and what kind of reward users receive. Some of the options include:

  • Mayor Specials: Rewarded to the user who checked in the most in the last 60 days, and is therefore deemed the “mayor” of the establishment.
  • Check-in Specials: Rewarded to users who check-in a certain number of times.
  • Frequency-based Specials: Rewarded when users check-in X amount of times.

Probably one of the greatest features of geotagging is the ability to reach people who are in the vicinity of your business. For instance, a person who checks into places within two blocks of your business can receive a notification that your business is offering a reward if they check-in. Not only does this entice the user to drop in for their reward, it also encourages them to share the reward opportunity with friends.

By reaching out to people who are in your neighborhood you can detail your rewards so that they are location specific. Are you located near a university? Offer a reward for fans who wear the school’s colors. Is there a big music event coming up? Offer a reward for users who show you their ticket stub.

There are some local businesses in our area already taking advantage of the Foursquare special offers. Tyler's Restaurant and Taproom, with locations in Carrboro, Durham, and Apex, offers users a free order of garlic fries just for checking-in. 

These kind of offers also open up possibilities for organizations that don’t necessarily have a business location but want to receive the recognition involved with geotagging rewards.

What if the local university could sponsor a special at a local business for users who check-in? Thanks to State University, every State U student who checks in today receives $1 off their purchase!

Or if a local organization is trying to increase awareness of an upcoming event they could sponsor specials around town rewarding users who participate in the organization’s event.

With geotagging services, the playing field is leveled. Local brands can easily reach out to users through targeted specials and in turn, compete with national brands.  So if anyone should be looking to take advantage of geotagging services it should be local businesses.

Does your local business utilize the likes of Foursquare or Gowalla to attract local users? Have you experienced any local businesses using these services? What do you think about them? Do they work?


Eric Melchor's avatar
Eric Melchor

Now that Facebook has released its geo-tagging service, the battle is on. There are a couple of other geo-tag social devices like Loopt and Tagwhat (Twitter meets Foursquare). Read about them at http://fonegigsblog.com/2010/05/12/check-in-apps-%E2%80%93-presented-by-fonegigs/

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