Foursquare Local Updates: Checking In for Checking Out

Businesses find it more challenging than ever these days to get the attention of customers. And, if they are able to get their attention, they are further challenged to create relevant content that is valuable and maintains people's interest. Location-based social networking site Foursquare has developed an innovation to its service that helps businesses in this regard. It is simple, but the simplicity of the feature is the characteristic that makes it so appealing.

Foursquare has introduced local updates, a feature that lets businesses on Foursquare communicate information to people checking in at stores, restaurants, and other locations on Foursquare. Tips and other information posted by users that have been the core of Foursquare's concept are being complemented with marketer-delivered information. Examples of how local updates might be used include a restaurant that has new menu items or specials can list them as an update. Or, a minor league baseball team running a discounted ticket promotion for Tuesday night games can communicate it using local updates.

The value of local updates on Foursquare for businesses and users is simplicity. Information is not being communicated through costly advertising - no loud music, celebrity endorsers, or other trappings of media advertising messages are needed. A restaurant analogy used to describe the local updates feature is that it can be used like a sandwich board displaying daily specials. If engaging customers has become the holy grail of marketing, Foursquare's local updates is a small step toward achieving that quest.

Even if a business is not using Foursquare, it can apply the idea behind local updates, considering whether other channels exist to communicate with customers in a simple, low cost way. Consumers value information; it helps them make more informed decisions. Meet customers where they are, whether it is on Foursquare, other online channels, or offline, by being an information resource for them.

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