Small Biz Questions: Will the Twitter-Foursquare Partnership Really Improve the Value of Tweeting?

February 02, 2015

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Every second, an average of 6,000 tweets are sent. Currently, it takes less than two days for 1 billion tweets to be sent. With over 645.8 million registered users and 190 million unique visitors, Twitter is considered one of the most influential tools for viral brand messaging.

The beauty of Twitter is in its simplicity, but that very characteristic makes the tool weak in an area that is becoming significant when it comes to marketing. While Twitter can identify where you signed in, and it certainly knows your reported / disclosed location, Twitter is unable to tell your exact geographical location at the moment a tweet is generated.

During the 2014 analyst presentation, Twitter outlined plans to integrate some geo-location based features as early as the first quarter of 2015, in partnership with local business discovery engine Foursquare. (See: “Will Foursquare Soon Power the Location Features of Twitter?”) Presently, there are very few details available as to what this will mean to consumers and companies, but the potential is incredible for both users of Twitter and business organizations of all sizes.

Let’s take a look at how geo-based tweets could radically change the way Twitter networks engage with each other, providing additional dimension and opportunities for engagement like we have never seen before.

Here are the words of the Twitter spokesperson: 

Our goal is to take those learnings and scale them to the rest of the world. There are two key components to nail: 1.) Understanding where content is coming from and where the conversation is happening: a country, a city, a neighborhood, or venue; 2.) Understanding places you care about, whether that’s the place you’re standing when you access Twitter, your home country, or some place else on the globe that’s captured your attention. Organizing the world’s public conversations in real-time can offer limitless opportunities.

(You can read the full article here.)

With that in mind, let’s review possible scenarios that explore what this could mean for your business and your customers.

Geo-located tweets can potentially enhance real-life social interactions

Most of us are familiar with the Nearby Friends feature from Foursquare. This feature allows users to identify friends who are in close proximity to their geographical location, making it a useful tool for millennials and the like who prefer a more spontaneous type of social engagement.

Foursquare has a little under 40 million users, and their level of daily engagement is significantly lower than Twitter. Imagine what would happen if Twitter had the same capability, but now with hundred-fold amplification and the ability to be seen by others that are not necessarily within a user’s network.

Without a doubt, we are likely to see increased real-time interaction in the social context, likely to generate increased traffic and sales for businesses that have, in the past, benefited from the Foursquare Nearby Friends feature. 

Geo-located tweets can help you push a promo to those nearby

If you are a savvy businessperson, then you are probably already tweeting on behalf of your company. As it stands, your marketing reach using Twitter consists of mainly your followers, those that specifically visit your Twitter page at a particular moment, or individuals tracking a hashtag that you might have used to segue a message on behalf of your business.

With geo-location, your tweets will no longer drown in an avalanche of tweets. Instead, you could potentially push a promo to those nearby, whether they follow your business Twitter account or not. In a way, it is like being able to stand outside your door and voice a message with a laser-sharp megaphone.

Geo-located tweets can help you identify consumer needs and trends and tweak your offering

What if you could track what is trending within a certain radius of your business? Imagine if you could identify long lines at other venues as voiced by Twitter members and, in response, you could trigger an invite to your location. What if, during an event with significant out-of-town attendance, people in your geo-location are complaining about parking issues, and you just happen to run a for-pay parking lot? No longer are you subject to a static approach to business. Instead, you could potentially become a reactive marketer, taking ownership of small changes to cater to specific needs conveyed via local tweets.

Geo-located tweets can help you identify brand advocates in real-time and on location 

This is one of the most intriguing applications for tweets with geo-location. Most businesses often miss out on the opportunity to interact with their guests in response to a real-time compliment voiced on Twitter.

While you may often have the capability to identify and react to a tweet in real-time, unless the person tweeting discloses his or her location, you have no way to know if they are still in your premises. If they are, then imagine for a moment the potential of interacting directly with either an advocate or someone who is voicing a complaint. You could, in theory, quench a fire, or solidify a great relationship with someone who is already an advocate before they walk away from your business. What a great way to up the ante when it comes to customer service!

We don’t know the specifics of this partnership beyond what has already been disclosed, but we have high hopes as to the tools that it will place in the hands of businesses to help them further their marketing reach and better respond to the ongoing digital conversation. Join our newsletter to receive the latest updates about this partnership and other similar developments that are likely to affect the way your customers engage with you and voice their opinion on popular review sites and social apps.

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