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Is your business on Foursquare?

If it is, you’re soon going to be able to share your updates to a targeted portion of the site’s 20 million users. (And growing.) If it isn’t – well, now is the best time to sign your business up.

The location-based social networking website – also considered the king of “check-in” apps by which people let friends, family, and followers know where exactly they are – recently announced the launch of Local Updates: a new feature that allows businesses to send photos, texts, and promotional information to Foursquare users based on their check-in location.

Similar to Google’s pay-per-click (PPC) search ads and Twitter’s Promoted Tweets, Local Updates represents the company’s first revenue product, enabling business owners and marketers to pay and announce updates such as specials, exclusive offers, pictures of new products or services, and upcoming events, among others. These local updates appear on the Explore tab of Foursquare users who have checked in the same area as the location of the business – which means that these updates are designed to reach a geographically targeted audience composed of Foursquare users who have already previously checked into or “liked” the given business.

In a blog post addressed to its growing community of users, Foursquare said that “you’ll see these updates on the (Explore) page – kind of like the chalkboard where a restaurant writes its daily specials. For example, when you’re on Northern Spy Food Co.’s page, you’ll see their recent update about their latest seasonal drink.”

Foursquare Local Updates for Businesses

The feature is the latest reason why you should claim your business on Foursquare. With Local Updates, you now have a new interactive way of connecting to your customers and starting online conversations about your business.

Foursquare expects to roll out Local Updates very soon, so we’ve come up with a list of ways how your business can benefit from the check-in king’s new revenue-generating product.

You control how your updates look. For businesses, Local Updates is essentially an advertising platform. But it’s no ordinary advertising. You can customize your updates and enhance their visual appeal by adding pictures, compelling copy, and even links.

You get to reach a targeted audience. No barking up the wrong tree here. (And no wasting your ad spend on the wrong audience.) Foursquare already knows the users who’ve often checked in to your place or liked your business; whenever these users are in the area, Foursquare will broadcast your updates to these users’ Explore tabs. This is particularly useful if your business has multiple locations: you pay and place ads not where your business operates, but where customers and prospects are.

You get to reach a mobile audience. It’s no secret that there’s a rapidly growing number of people who use smartphones and tablets to check in. Well, Local Updates offers a great chance to reach out to these people, who may just happen to be passing through, looking for a new place to discover.

You can generate more positive reviews. Foursquare’s Explore tab is designed to lead users to plenty of pleasant surprises. With Local Updates, you now have the ability to cook up one of those pleasant surprises. It’s the best way to build buzz around your business, as well as generate glowing reviews from happy customers. (Of course, you must not forget to monitor your online reviews using ReviewTrackers!)

You can set yourself apart from the competition. Paid ads can do wonders, especially if they help set your business apart from competitors. Indeed, on a platform like Foursquare, where almost 1 million businesses are now listed, it’s important to find a way to distinguish yourself.

(Photos: Foursquare blog)

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

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