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Understanding differences between Facebook and Foursquare – Using both to grow your Tucson business.

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Distinctly different in their approach, both Facebook and Foursquare offer something unique when it comes to leveraging their potential for business promotion. Let’s take a quick look at both platforms and see which is better for your business.
 
Like many others, I love Facebook for the kind of relationships I can maintain and build on a personal level. I’m catching up on family stories and old friends, through Facebook’s rich media environment. Your business can utilize Facebook in a similar way to connect to your customers. Imagine if you were able to “become friends” with all of your customers? Would that benefit your business?
 
Two important things that Facebook can provide your Tucson business First, let’s take a look at paid Facebook Ads.   When we first started using Facebook ads a few years ago it was very exciting. Rarely has there been an online advertising model that could be dissected on so many levels.  If you’re promoting a local Tucson business such as a restaurant or ski shop you can ask Facebook to just advertise to your local customers. On the other hand if you widen your net to include customers from outside the region, Facebook can help you with that too; you are able to get very specific with your campaigns. Imagine being able to select the age, gender, language preference, region, and interests of those users seeing your ad. Facebook Ads connect you with people who really are interested in trying out your product. Also, the fact that Facebook advertising campaigns are not too expensive, means you can keep testing and reworking your ads until you know what works best for you. Facebook Advertising also provides the business owner with some excellent reporting tools to help evaluate the effectiveness of your ad. A home for your business – the Facebook business page Let’s use the ski shop example again. As a Tucson business owner you are able to create a virtual ski shop on Facebook. For this, you need to use a business account. It’s not particularly difficult to get one, and it’s absolutely free. With a business account you get access to all the reporting and information that a business craves. When you create a page that talks about your products,  you can message the people in your list about offers on your sale productions or how about introducing a brand new product to those people that have shown in interest in cross country skiing for example.
 
Hopefully you’re getting the idea? Your page can be used to deliver a captivating advertising campaign; a supplement to your traditional media ads. You can even use keywords to target only those visitors who are interested in your ski items that live within a 50 mile radius. What you are doing with Facebook is an essential tool in your marketing arsenal. You can leverage Facebook’s tools for consistent business growth. Foursquare and your Business There are over 5.3 billion mobile phone subscribers in the world and this number keeps increasing at an alarming rate. If you enjoy statistics like me that means 77% of the world’s population are now using mobile phones. In the next 5 years the mobile web is going to continue to explode at an alarming rate.
 
Wouldn’t you like your Tucson business to have a strong presence in the mobile computing world? Well, for that there is Foursquare, which according to their site “gives you and your friend’s new ways to explore your city”. Foursquare is a social network (in this way similar to Facebook) – Foursquare is a location based mobile platform designed to explore your city, and the cities you visit. When you arrive at a location around town you simply use your smart phone to “check-in” to your current location. “Check-ins” is shared with friends and members of your foursquare network. You can leave tips and suggestions for other friends, (should they eventually visit the place you just checked into), that might help them on their future visit. The important question – “How in the world is that going to help my business?” The answer lies with “local customers” and the fact that many businesses these days are targeting ?local customers?. Two ways through which businesses can promote themselves on Foursquare:
 
Merchant Platform Let’s take the ski shop example again. I know you probably aren’t selling many skis in Tucson, but follow me for a minute. You sell skis and skiing accessories. As far as Foursquare is concerned, you are the MERCHANT. Foursquare offers a free set of tools to attract new customers and also ensure brand loyalty. Foursquare has introduced a feature called SPECIALS. When foursquare users check in near your ski shop on their mobile device that can be presented with an exclusive offer from your business. If the person checking in is interested in your special there is a good chance they will stop by to check it out. (This is a great example of the immediacy phenomenon on the mobile platform) The MERCHANT (remember that’s you) has full control over what you would like to offer to nearby customers. Business Pages and Badges Foursquare also offers business pages to help you connect with your local customers. They can follow along with your current products and specials. . Your fans, who love your ski shop, can follow your page and be aware of any new offerings from you side. Your business page is completely customizable to fit your brand. You could also offer “partner badges” to your loyal customers. People checking into different businesses can earn badges (a small logo that participants love to collect) Customers who have the most number of badges can be rewarded for their loyalty. The sky really is the limit, and there are many options to be explored. So who wins the Battle Royale? Much like in professional wrestling, a definitive winner is difficult to determine. On a personal level we prefer to start a client off with Facebook. It allows us to target customers based on their tastes and interests. Facebook also allows the business owner to communicate directly with each of their fans. On the flip side, Foursquare is banking on their advantage of being created exclusively for the mobile platform. If you have local business and want to make your business easily accessible to the phone user then I would definitely take advantage of Foursquare.
 
So what is the final verdict? In a nutshell these are two different platforms for your Tucson business. Why choose between two different products? Click Magnet believes strongly in using many tools simultaneously to achieve business growth. What is important though is that your social media strategy is well designed before using either of these platforms.