Businesses: Check in to the huge benefits of location based services!

    Thinktank Social

    Location based services are nothing new to the world of social media, but their importance to business is ever increasing, as more and more businesses are embracing them in order to bring in new customers. With Foursquare and Facebook places leading the way, which one offers more benefits for both the business, and the user?
    As of August second, Foursquare now offer ‘self-service’ pages for businesses. These pages allow businesses to set up their own Foursquare place page, and offer specials and tips to their followers. However, these pages are somewhat limited in their fan interaction, by offering more of a one-way communication channel from the brand to the user, as opposed to Facebook’s more fan oriented interactions.
    Facebook Places on the other hand can be integrated with a businesses existing Facebook fan page. Page administrators and owners can set up a location or multiple locations for their page, by claiming the place page that is made when users check in.
    So what’s in it for the user? Studies have shown that the biggest motivation for users of any location based service is for discounts and specials. Both Facebook and Foursquare give businesses functionality to offer these to users who check in. Facebook have just launched their deals to Australian businesses, however to begin with, these are only being run by a select few businesses. When available, businesses will be able to run individual, friend, loyalty or charity deals. Foursquare deals are available worldwide and can involve rewarding individual check ins, repeated check ins, group check ins and more.
    Foursquare allows developers greater access to data on who has checked in and where, allowing for more custom development in relation to check ins. Facebook allows you to easily get access to how many people have checked in, but finding out who they are is much harder, due to their privacy restrictions.
    With total Facebook users sitting at around 750 million and Foursquare’s user base at around 10 million, the motivation for businesses to utilise offers and deals lies within their Facebook fans. Although Foursquare is still growing, citing a 1000% growth in users between August 2010 and August 2011, the volume of users a business could reach with their Facebook page is always going to be greater. In addition, a user is more likely to participate in a deal or competition on a platform they already have, rather than signing up to a new platform. This is not to discount the benefits of having a presence on Foursquare, as Foursquare users can also post their check in on both their Facebook and Twitter.
    As a business owner, user, or both, which platform do you prefer and why?