This week, Facebook announced that they’re going to be phasing out Facebook Places, a location-based service (LBS) allowing you to use the Facebook app to check-in to local places of businesses and alert your friends with a post to your profile.
Although the feature will probably still be incorporated in status updates, this is a big win for FourSquare because we’re finally seeing the point where just because Facebook is big, bad, and rich doesn’t mean it can be as successful with the same business models as other sites.
If you’re a brick-and-mortar shop and haven’t joined in on the LBS fun, take this piece of news to give you a push in the right direction and partner with Foursquare. Here are a few reasons why it won and how you can advantage to earn more business:
Even with a quarter of the amount of active users, Foursquare is still the #1 preferred LBS.
That’s right. Facebook has 750 million users, but only about 6% of them are using Facebook Places. Still more than 4 times the amount of Foursquare’s 10 million users! But with more than half a million businesses offering check-in deals on FourSquare and now the ability to check-in to local events, as a business you’ll make more and deeper connections with potential customers.
Action: Just claim your business! If you’re not ready to start making offers for FourSquare users, at least get on Foursquare.com and claim your biz. This is a great way to see who has already been checking in and what users are saying about you.
You don’t HAVE to tell the whole world where you are.
The lovely part about Foursquare is that you can check-in with the service and then have the option of reporting it to your Facebook or Twitter account. Heck, you don’t even have to tell the FourSquare community if you don’t want to! (Instead, people will see that a user “checked in, but is hiding their whereabouts.”) Facebook is different because it automatically reports to your news feed when you check-in. Also, if you are with one of your Facebook friends and they check-in, they can tag you and say you’re there… which also shows up on YOUR Facebook wall. I’m sure there’s a way to prevent this from happening, but it’s a shame they had to bury it in their ridiculous Privacy settings.
Action: Don’t worry yourself with concerns of the world stalking your customers. I have had clients ask me about the dangers of offering check-ins to customers because of the creeps online who might want to find them and rob them… or even worse. I understand these concerns, but as a business owner you can’t make the decision for people who want to let the internet know where they are. There are businesses listed all over Foursquare who never even listed themselves, and its because anyone can do it. So instead, just be present and join in on the fun. Why would you want to prevent yourself from new business with concerns of organized crime?
Everyone loves a game.
The reason Foursquare is really fantastic is the incorporation of not only real world rewards like discounts and free stuff, but being able to earn points, badges, and mayorships with your account, competing with your friends on a leaderboard. When you turn something that sounds so silly into a fun game, you are going to win. No doubt. That’s why video games are so successful. They engage the player into becoming addicted with achieving milestones in the game. Facebook doesn’t offer anything other than a status update. It’s really rather boring.
Action: Offer a special treat for the Mayor of your business. Not only do they get extra points every time they check-in with their title, but you can offer them an added bonus for wanting to keep coming back and not let anyone take their status away. All for the fun of the game!
Check out more of what I had to say about Foursquare vs. Facebook Places in my latest Tweetfind episode.
Are you using Facebook Places or Foursquare to attract business? What are you offering your customers?