Foursquare announced their new product offering for merchants yesterday, Local Updates.
The new feature makes use of Foursquare’s recently added Like feature and gives businesses the opportunity to connect beyond the deal, hyper-locally, with their most loyal (and nearby) customers.
Foursquare’s Local Updates let’s businesses push out messages in the stream. The same way you would normally see where your friend’s are, their shouts, and photos, you will now see updates from businesses you have liked or frequent.
This is yet another improvement of the service by Foursquare that gives businesses more options for reaching loyal and nearby users.
It also, coincidentally, paves the way for Foursquare to do what Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Stumbleupon have already done in creating an paid ad product for content in the stream. Which could also be a boon for businesses on Foursquare.
Here is what these Local Updates look like.
Users will not just see your content if they are a loyal customer, it is also available through the explore tab that many Foursquare users make use of as a local search tool.
The ability to serve up local content opens up a world of new creative messaging opportunities for retailers. Most merchants should start to see the feature rolling out this week, so here are a few ways organizations can start taking advantage of this new feature right away.
1. Encourage Likes and Check-Ins
In order to build an audience for the new feature, you’ll need to get some likes and check-ins. Ask patrons to like you on Foursquare wherever you can, online and off. Think menus, tablecloths, napkins, or those big chalkboards with hundreds of types beer with names I can’t pronounce but stare at trying to read.
Connect with local influencers and host an event at your store. Seasons 52, in Orlando, hosts a number of these kinds of seasonal tastings to introduce their new menus, playing host to social influencers and weaving food and fun into the local community.
Give Foursquare users a reason to come to your venue a few times and you are essentially building a subscriber list for your Local Updates.
2. Use High-Quality Photos
Local Updates are image-centric, and offer brands the option to add text, a special, and up to three images which you can swipe through in the friends feed of the mobile application.
Key takeaway here: make your customers drool. Steaming coffee at 7am, frost-brewed beers at 5:00. Make the experience valuable, not just another forced display ad.
3. Use Local Updates with Loyalty Specials to build customer affinity programs
Thanks to the suite of merchant tools now available, there are some options to create unique loyalty programs through foursquare.
Two words: Trivia Night.
Imagine you are one of the tens of thousands of bars hosting weekly Trivia Night. You’ve been maintaining your community and get a pretty regular crowd. What if the winning team each week had their picture taken in front of your restaurant and served up as the next week’s local update calling all challengers. You could even pair it with a Newbie or Flash special only for that evening.
Is your company currently using foursquare as a part of the social marketing strategy? Do you plan on testing out Local Updates? Leave us your thoughts in the comments about foursquare’s attempt to provide additional rich content to users.