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On Small Business
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Posted at 09:06 PM ET, 05/20/2012

How do you use location-based networks for your business?

On Small Business has a new feature in which young entrepreneurs will answer common questions about small business owners’ social media needs. The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of young entrepreneurs.

Q: How do you use location-based networks for your business?

Jun Loayza, co-founder and CMO of RewardMe in Mountain View, Calif.:

Foursquare is a great way for customers to tell their friends that they were at your store or restaurant. It only takes a few steps to get your business started on Foursquare. After you claim your business, create a special. The best types of specials are small, frequent rewards that a customer can redeem for frequent visits. To influence behavior and increase average order value, create rewards that encourage customers to bring a friend (i.e. buy one, get one free deals).

You can also create a Mayor reward. The Mayor is the Foursquare user that checks into your location most often. To reward your best customer, create a special reward that encourages him to bring a group of friends, (i.e. offer a free sampler platter for the Mayor and his/her friends).

Promote your Foursquare presence at your location by telling your customers that you use Foursquare and posting what reward the Mayor gets. If you can get Foursquare users to compete against each other to become Mayor, then you’ll enjoy an increase in foot traffic.

Shama Kabani, CEO of The Marketing Zen Group in Dallas:

Foursquare and other location-based sites allow users to check in at specific locations and connect with friends as they do, sharing useful tips and seeing what their friends are doing. For businesses, it represents a great opportunity to build loyalty and retain customers. Businesses can reward regular users with points and badges as incentives for check-ins. Location-based social sites obviously work particularly well for businesses with physical locations, like retail stores and restaurants. If you have a retail location, you want to start by claiming ownership of the venue.

If you don’t have a physical location, you can still create a page. What can pages do? Pages can have followers — users see your activity on their home pages. Pages can have a giant, customizable banner across the top of the page (great branding). All you need to create a page is a Twitter account. Unlike venues, which are created immediately, pages can take up to about two weeks to be implemented. While the History Channel may not be an actual venue, it is doing a good job at building an online community on Foursquare.

Lauren Fairbanks, partner at Stunt & Gimmick’s in New York:

Since we’re a data-driven content marketing firm, there’s not much benefit in having people check into our offices. Instead, we use location-based networks like Yelp and Foursquare to help our clients understand their customers better and find key online influencers.

By finding venues that cater to a company’s ideal client, you can find individual influencers to reach out to and begin a conversation about a specific brand. We also use location-based networking when our clients throw events, using check-in lists to reach back out to potential customers and to help make our online marketing efforts that much more effective.

The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good).

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By  |  09:06 PM ET, 05/20/2012

 
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