In 2013, the Foursquare community grew to 40 million people who’ve checked in 4.5 billion times to over 1.5 million businesses. Along with Facebook, Yelp and Twitter, location-based social media apps have provided businesses the opportunity to interact with their customers both in-store and in real time. Customers who are satisfied with their check-in experiences are more likely to return or share the offer with friends and social media followers.
Is your presence on check-in apps strong enough to drive more foot traffic to your business? Here are some ways marketers can better interact with customers that check in via social media apps.
1. Offer Mayoral perks
Foursquare users with the most frequent check-ins at a given establishment earn the Mayor badge. By offering valuable incentives to the Mayor of your establishment you can significantly drive check-ins at your business. In some restaurants being the Mayor entitles a user to a free beer or desert with a meal purchase while some clothing stores offer a 20% discount. There’s even a mall in New Jersey where the Foursquare Mayor has her own reserved parking spot. What perks can your business offer that will drive customers to visit and check in more frequently?
2. Create a reward program for frequent check ins
Use social media platforms to create reward programs such as Subway’s Sub Club or Kohl’s Cash. The Mayor shouldn’t be the only person benefitting for being loyal. Your business can utilize social media to create rewards programs that incentivize all of your customers. DBS Bank Asia and Dupaco Credit Union both give customers points for each Facebook check-in and the top scorer receives a free vacation. Starbucks entices their customers who’ve checked in five times by offering a Barista Badge. Reward programs for frequent check-ins can drive return visits and are beneficial for seasonal businesses that want to attract customers during their slow months.
3. Host check-in events
Ramp up your social media likes and follows while offering a unique sales opportunity through check-in events. Both The Gap and Ann Taylor have held special sales events where they offered 25% off merchandise to those who checked in to their brick-and-mortar locations. Cheesecake Factory has special limited-time check-in offers where customers that spend $50 get $10 off their meals. Businesses can also entice new customers to visit by offering special treats for newbies with a first-time check-in discount.
4. Partner with local, like-minded businesses
By partnering with local businesses marketers can maximize each user activity. Customers who check in to one location can receive offers to visit other businesses in the area. In a busy shopping mall a customer looking for a new jacket can check in and receive an offer to find the perfect pair of shoes to match it at a store next door.
5. Let your customers check in to free WiFi
Recently, Facebook and Cisco systems partnered to offer free WiFi to customers for checking in to participating businesses. Retail businesses can benefit by not only by building goodwill with their customers but they receive more exposure on Facebook as well. Facebook will share the checked-in customer’s demographic information which the businesses can use for marketing research.