Think back for a minute to 2008 when Groupon opened shop. Can’t remember? If you’re like me, you probably don’t recall the first time you signed up to receive daily deals in your inbox–it just sort of happened. And, if you’re like me, you may have even thought “how can this type of site possibly last?” But, if you’re like me, you drank the Kool-Aid and before you knew it, you were getting Groupon emails everyday, were using the Groupon app and eventually signed up with other daily deal sites like LivingSocial or DealChicken or one of the other nearly 800 daily deal sites.
According to the infographic below, the Groupon business model is starting to crumble with one in three daily deal sites having already failed. Groupon itself has been failing pretty miserably for the last year or so. In fact, between a saturated market and retailers who claim to ‘hate’ Groupon for the small profit margins the deals bring in, Groupon could soon be history.
I think it’s pretty clear deal sites will continue to close left and right. However, I’m not so sure the end is coming as fast as this infographic claims. What do you think? Does Groupon have time to turn business around and get back in it for the long hall? Will another daily deal site rise to the top? Or is it just a matter of time before the entire ‘Groupon Bubble’ bursts?
Foursquare is definitely one of the most underutilized social media platforms. Sure brands such as the History Channel and Starbucks are completely killing it on Foursquare, but the location-based app is fantastic for businesses of all sizes. Small businesses in particular have a great opportunity to gain exposure, reward patrons with deals and earn customer loyalty. Chances are, your business already has a spot on Foursquare. Wouldn’t it make sense to claim your venue so you have control of it?
There are plenty of articles about Foursquare success stories and you can skim through a few case studies on the app’s website. Probably the best reason to get your business on Foursquare is for the check-in specials–those are deals users can unlock after a certain number of check-ins or for becoming the ‘mayor.’ Check-in specials are only the beginning though. The following is a quick how-to on getting the most out of Foursquare–without spending any money.
Setting up a ‘personal’ account:
Create a new account for your business. To make this happen, go to foursquare.com and download the free mobile app.
Fill out profile completely. This includes a good profile photo/logo, location, phone number, Twitter handle, and your company’s bio (160 characters).
Add people you know & people in the area.
Create lists & add tips. This is why setting up a personal business profile is important. Maybe you’re a restaurant owner who also serves pizza by the slice at local sporting events … might as well add a tip to those venues for fans to grab a slice during intermission. As the social media manager at KVSC-FM, I created a list of “KVSC’s Favorite Eateries.” The restaurants on the list are all underwriters for the station and the tips include special discounts for members of KVSC (a public radio station). Being a college radio station, I also created a list of tips for venues around campus such as “If you’re walking through campus or driving around town, tune to KVSC 88.1FM for college radio awesomeness! You can listen on mobile devices too. Just go to http://www.kvsc.org/listen.php” and “Make sure you get to hockey games in time for the pre-game intro. It. Is. AWESOME! Read more.” What’s really great about adding tips and lists is that you can link to websites and you can easily check the stats (e.g. “10 people have done this tip”).
Connect other apps, check privacy settings. Foursquare has a number of apps you can connect such as Foodspotting, Instagram and The Weather Channel. If your business is on Instagram for example, you can sync Foursquare to automatically check-in at a venue when you share a photo (by the way, if your business is on Instagram, go ahead an connect your Tumblr and Twitter accounts too). Since you’re a business and not an actual person, be sure to make your privacy settings as loose as possible–make it easy for customers to get in touch.
Setting up your business page:
Create/claim your venue. Unfortunately, this can be quite a drag–taking up to a week or more. This is good though because Foursquare is doing its best to make sure only real venues get claimed by the rightful manager. To get started, head to foursquare.com and sign in using the business account you just created or your personal account–doesn’t matter which. Search for your business and look for the “Do you manage this business?” and hit the “Click here” button. After that, just follow the steps. You will need to verify using the phone number of the business.
Fill out profile completely: Profile photo/logo, Address, phone number, Twitter handle, website, hours and keyword tags. Restaurants also have the ability to add menus and prices.
Create a special. Now that you’re managing your venue, go ahead and create your first check-in special. Foursquare offers a variety of specials to attract new customers or reward existing customers. Choosing a special for users who check-in to the venue for their first time might be a great way to get started. You can create multiple campaigns and test which ones work best.
Add employees and managers. If you’re a busy manager or owner of your business, it might be a good idea to delegate the responsibilities of general venue upkeep to another employee. Also, you can add employees to your venue so they can’t become the ‘mayor’ and reap the rewards that your actual customers should be getting.
Promote. You should get a window cling from Foursquare when you secure your venue … put it somewhere visible. Create fliers, Tweet it, include it in your eNewsletter, put it on your business card, train your employees to tell customers about it, add links to your website and anything else you can think of. Just be sure to follow the Foursquare brand guidelines.