Obama is in Foursquare, Facebook Check In Deals is in Australia, should I even bother?

Australians love their smartphones. Nearly half of us have a smartphone or about to buy one. Smartphones have features such as built in GPS offering new marketing opportunities based on the location of its owners. These new opportunities are especially in the retail and hospitality industries.

The opportunities are based around the owner of a smartphone “ checking in” to a physical location. For example, I can check in to a local café by using check in feature of a social network using my smartphone as I head there for lunch. There are many social networks offering similar functionalities. Currently in Australia Foursquare and Facebook are the leaders of the pack.

Foursquare

With more than 10 million users worldwide including President Obama, Foursquare is popular. Yet Foursquare’s presence is nowhere near mainstream in Australia with around 60 000 users.

Foursquare creates an experience based around smartphone owner’s checking in. You can find out what is around you, tips about restaurants, discover new places or redeem a special offer by checking in. The last feature is the holy grail of the location based marketing. A business can generate additional revenue or build loyalty by rewarding the users who check in to redeem the special offers.

The special offers that work better are the ones that offer a great value for each check in at the time of the check in, not at the 5th check in.  A good example is Hudson Meats in Sydney giving 1 kg of thin grass fed beef sausages when you spend $30 in the store between 9-5 on a Friday. The reward is instant and of substantial value.

Next Steps

Claim your business in Foursquare. It is quick and easy, and done in a couple of steps

Create a user profile for you to see what kinds of tips users leave, what is around your location and what kinds of specials are offered. You have to sign up before you can create your page

If you decide to run a special ( it doesn’t cost to run a special other than your time) make sure there is a real value and your team is aware of the special and how to implement it.

Facebook

Facebook has more than 10 million Australian users, yet the Facebook Places feature which allows you to check in is not that popular. Privacy concerns, not being sure of the value of check in or not wanting to show off are some of the reasons.

Now you can see the value of a check in as  Facebook  launched Facebook Check In  Deals in Australia last month.

Currently it is used by brands such as Commonwealth Bank, 7- Eleven, KFC and Westfield. Small businesses are not able to create check in deals at the moment but they can register their interest. Facebook deals are similar in functionality to Foursquare’s special offers. Yet the main difference is a business can offer a deal to a group of friends instead of a single user.

Next Steps

Register interest for creating check in deals for your business

Final say

You wouldn’t be missing out if you are not trialling a campaign using checking in. It is still the early days. Yet keeping an eye on what’s happening out there is always a good idea. Besides if you run a successful campaign, you may also enjoy the first mover advantage and even some publicity as it is a hot topic.

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