For the past 6 months or so, I have been “checking in” to many local businesses (big and small) using Foursquare and Facebook on my iPhone. I have been anxious to find businesses who are embracing one of these platforms to offer a special or a deal, and have found just a handful of examples to share with you. In rural Minnesota, there are not a lot of people who are using FourSquare yet (10 million users worldwide), compared to Facebook (500 million worldwide, but Facebook won’t reveal how many of these users check-in). I do see both of these growing as Smart Phone usage grows, and businesses start offering incentives to their customers for checking in (hey you….hint, hint). Foursquare lists their most popular places to check-in to be apparel stores, banks, convenience stores, home stores and general retail stores (I am surprised that restaurants & bars are not in the top 5). But, the local examples below may give you some ideas on how you can implement something similar if you have a business where walk-in traffic is important to your success.
For the Beginners: A “check-in” is when a person uses their Smart Phone to share their location to their friends via a mobile app like Foursquare or Facebook. So a customer could check-in to your establishment, basically announcing their loyalty of your business to their friends. The apps usually allow users to tag friends, add a photo, comment or tip. This is part of Location-Based Marketing, and with the surge of Smart Phone usage, is becoming increasingly more popular and effective. No matter what your location, word-of-mouth and customer loyalty matters. But, why will your customers check-in? You need to give them a reason – by offering a Special or Deal, whether it is targeted to first-time check-ins, after a certain number of check-ins, or to the mayor (whoever has checked-in to your business the most).
Local 4Square Check-in Specials:
- Affiliated Community Medical Center, Willmar, MN – Discount off purchase of eye wear with check-in
- Fieldstone Vineyards, Redwood Falls, MN – Free glass of wine with your first, and every tenth check-in
- Walgreens, Willmar, MN -With every check-in, a chance to win a $200 gift card
- Vivid Image, Hutchinson, MN – Free Seminar when you check-in 3 times
- Remax Preferred Realty, Olivia, MN – Free Re/Max Coffee Mug for first 10 check-ins
Local Facebook Check-in Deals:
- Pep’s Barber Shop, Willmar, MN – $3.00 off haircut
- Stacy’s Nursery, Willmar, MN – 25% off one regular priced item
- Redwood Area Community Center, Redwood Falls, MN – Check in at RACC and get a free day pass
*All specials/deals were active at one point but are not guaranteed to still be running. If you check-in to a business who has a special or deal, be sure to tell them that you like seeing them there! Let your favorite businesses know that you enjoy checking in!
If you like the idea of having your customers check-in, ask yourself, “what is in it for them?” Offering a check-in deal will reward your loyal customers and potentially bring in new business. If you are considering running a incentive for checking-in, be sure to promote it within your store, on your website, and through your other social media sites. The best part about setting up a check-in special or deal, is that besides the reward that you give the customer, it is FREE.
Interested in learning more about Mobile Marketing? Download this free white paper “Simple Mobile Marketing” or contact us. Or better yet, Stop in to Vivid Image in Hutchinson, MN, and check-in!
Did I miss a business in your area who is using Foursquare or Facebook check-ins to their fullest potential? Please tell us what they are doing in the comments below!