Mobilizing Businesses on foursquare

by Dwayne Kilbourne on February 9, 2013

Finally! For those of you who do not know, foursquare has a separate app for foursquare brands who have claimed venues on the network. This is a great step forward for foursquare as it gives businesses on its platform more convenient and robust features and functionality, especially on the go!

What Can The App Do Right Now?

Currently, the foursquare business app for Android and iOS allows businesses who have claimed venues on the foursquare network to post local updates, check check-in statistics, and monitor specials. In the past, businesses had to pull up all of this content on the foursquare.com website. To accomplish this, many had to be in their offices and in front of a desktop or laptop computer; this added inconvenience to the process, so this new step should encourage more business engagement using the foursquare platform.

What Are The Current Limitations?

Glad you asked. As of this writing, there are numerous features that businesses can do when using the regular foursquare.com website that they cannot monitor or manage and do using this smartphone app. Here are some of the major limitations that I notice thus far:

1.       Inability to Check-in

Sometimes, businesses (especially service-driven businesses) go places, and they’d love to share that experience with their following. Unfortunately, a foursquare business/brand page cannot do so at this time, at least not using the mobile app. Instead, they are limited to having to pull up the foursquare.com site on a mobile browser, log in, switch over to the brand page, and then search for the place you are currently at and check-in! This is far from convenient. Not all businesses will use this, but there are enough that would; let’s hope they add check-in functionality in the VERY near future!

2.       Inability to Create Specials

You can monitor current specials and get some details about the success of each, but adding new specials on the fly is not currently available. However, I must say that it appears that the foursquare team is working hard on this task. They seem to insinuate [on the specials tab] that this feature is coming soon, so this limitation should soon be a moot point.

3.       Inability to Create Tips

Again, when it comes to the service industry and to businesses that sell products at the retail level, the ability to add tips on the venue page of your authorized retailers is a great function of foursquare.  Some brands extend into other verticals, and that enables them to find value in adding tips at related venues (ie a running shoes company might want to add tips at the nearby gyms and track locations). Some of these businesses will be at events or retail locations and have the urge to add the tip right then and there, but the convenience frustrations outlined about (see point 1) remain.  Businesses should be able to add tips and lists on the fly via this new smartphone app, and I’m sure the foursquare team is away of that fact too! Fingers crossed that they fix this VERY soon!

4.       Lack of Multi-Venue Optimization

While the smartphone app allows businesses to post local updates at any of their claimed venues, this app has yet to allow the businesses to post to multiple local areas at once. Of course, businesses and brands can perform that function by going online to the main foursquare site, but that defeats the purpose. While I have yet to need to setup claimed venue groups, allowing multi-venue local update features to optimize through the group feature that is built-in is something that medium- and larger- chain businesses would find advantageous! Let’s hope this is added in a future update!

5.       No Functionality for Venue-less Business/Brand Pages

We cannot isolate and leave out the brands that do not have a claimed venue location. Those brands and businesses want to play too, so let’s allow them! As a service provider, I cannot engage my audience using the new foursquare business app. Instead (and as noted above), I have to log in the traditional way via a laptop, desktop, tablet, or mobile browser. Certainly, this must change as new features are tested and molded into the smartphone app.

Conclusions

Overall, I love the idea of having more foursquare business power in the palm of my hand! I have not found too many bugs with the app, and it can only get better with time and new features. If you have claimed your business on foursquare, now is the time to give this Android/iOS app a try. I’d love to hear what your thoughts are about it!

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