In my last post, I introduced you to location-based services. In this post, I will describe the various players in this space and summarize what I feel is their unique contribution and how small business owners might wish to participate.
The company that started this craze was foursquare (all lowercase intentional). The company is just two years old and has over 10 million registered users with average check-ins of over 3 million each day. In my view, the thing that makes foursquare unique is that it is played like a game. Badges (virtual badges, of course) are displayed for users who achieve certain milestones and if you check-in the most at a venue you are granted the title of “mayor”. The take away for small business owners is that as a venue you can run specials for foursquare users. For example, we were dining at a restaurant last night and when I checked in I was offered 30% off my next visit.
Google Places is most known for local search results on Google’s website. Small business owners should ALWAYS make sure that your business is registered on Google Places as this is one place users zone in on in their search results page. Google Plus users can check-in at Google Places.
Facebook Places is nice because, for Facebook users, it’s all contained within their single mobile app which makes it easier and simpler for users to check-in. The downside is that venue management is not straight forward as it is on Google and the venue listings are no match for Google Place’s seemingly infinite resources.
Yelp is the trendy newcomer on the scene but it one to be watched. The interesting thing about Yelp, and one small business owners should take note of, is that Yelp is all about reviews. Reviews can be a double-edged sword. While a good review can drive traffic to you, a bad review can certainly make prospective customer think twice about doing business with you.
Buzz My Biz has a social networking staff skilled on location-based services and reputation management (the art of protecting your brand online). Contact us today to find out how we can help your small business take advantage of location-based services.