How Small Businesses Can Use Foursquare (and why they should)

Foursquare seems to be one of those social networks that people either love or hate. The idea of check-ins, collecting badges, pursuing Mayorships, and sharing your location may not be for everyone, but the popularity among mobile users seems to be maintaining a steady growth.

According to Nielsen’s “Social Media Report 2012,” Foursquare has 10.4 million active monthly mobile users. That represents roughly 42% of everyone who has downloaded the app. The report also notes that Foursquare ranks only behind Facebook (78 million) and Twitter (23 million) in terms of monthly mobile users. The report did not include Instagram, but given the recent popularity of the photo sharing app it could be possible that Foursquare ranks behind that as well. Even if you add Instagram to the ranks, Foursquare still claims a solid foothold within the top four most popular social apps.

Foursquare is rapidly becoming a valuable tool for local businesses to attract customers and connect with check-in specials, mayor discounts, and other location-based promotions. It is also becoming a valuable resource for finding reviews, recommendations, and suggestions for local venues, similar to Yelp, Google Places, and other popular geo-social networks.

Foursquare also gives businesses the chance to boost their SEO, help their search rankings, and create a digital presence with little to no additional money needed for search engine optimization or pay-per-click marketing campaigns. It’s free to create a business page, and Foursquare offers a multitude of valuable analytics and marketing tools once it verifies the owner. Businesses can develop brand advocacy, repeat visits and increased sales through simple interaction with consumers using the mobile app.

It’s worth nothing that users can also create Foursquare locations for businesses if one is not already setup, so even if a business isn’t using Foursquare they may still have customers checking into their location. This underscores the value of claiming the location, building a presence, and embracing this popular social network to enhance business operations.