Facebook check-in

Invite your customers to tell your story

There is little more powerful than someone else telling people what you do, or that you’re good at it. That’s why testimonials are so important. But there are many other ways that you can get your customers to help tell your story, both to their friends, and to yours. Today I’ll run through three ways that you can get your audience talking about you, creating powerful content, and taking some of the pressure of creating content off of you!

1) Create opportunity and reason to check in

Whether people are using Foursquare, Facebook, or Instagram, you want them to check in to your location and let their friends know they’re there, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them.

The first thing you need to do is make sure that you’re set up on all of the different apps so that when they try to check in, you appear. If I’m out and want to share my location with a picture, and the location pops up for me to tag, I do it. If the location doesn’t show up, I don’t. This is easy to do on Facebook (by putting in your address and making sure your page is listed as a place), and adding your location to Foursquare makes it available both there and on Instagram as well. On top of making it easy for people to check in, be sure to encourage them to do so - either by asking them to check in, or…

2) Have contests

Contests are a great way to get people to share content for you. Put up signs in your location or promote them online to get people to share photos, stories or quotes that have to do with your business. Create a hashtag that then ties all the entries together and that leads people back to your site or business.

Here are examples of the types of contests you can run:

Ask people to Tweet or Facebook their favourite thing that you sell. Let them know to tag you or use a specific hashtag, like this company did:

The contest will encourage people to post photos like this:

or this one:

Ask a social media question for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card with a hashtag that corresponds to your business (i.e., #AskWellmanWilson)

3) Ask for their story

People like sharing their story and are often willing to do it as long as you ask. There are many ways to do this:

  • Ask them to write a sentence or two describing what they like about your company or your product.
  • Ask for a guest post that details their experience with you or your product.
  • Send them a questionnaire they can fill out and then post their answers as an interview.

Being the voice of your business and telling the story of your brand is made easier when you invite your clients and customers to join in. Our next blog post will give you some of the benefits that encouraging your customers to tell your story can bring.

What are some other creative ways you’ve seen businesses invite their customers and clients to tell their story?

Checking out check-in apps - what they are, why they're useful

Checking in on social networks is a way for users to announce where they are and/or what they’re doing to their audience. According to Wikipedia:

Many social networking services, such as FoursquareGoogle LatitudeGoogle+FacebookJiepangVK (social network)GowallaGetGlue and Brightkite, allow users to “check in” to a physical place and share their locations with their friends.[1]

Users can check in to a specific location by text messaging or by using a mobile application on a smartphone—the application will use the phone’s GPS to find the current location.

Have you ever checked in?

It’s common to hear people hesitate to use check-in apps because they don’t feel their friends will be interested in where they’re going and what they’re doing. Even more common is concerns about privacy, not wanting people to know where you are. Fortunately, we have answers to all of these concerns. And we can make a business case for using check-ins to give incentives to customers.

What exactly is a check-in?

Check-in apps are designed to let you tell your personal network where you are and what you’re doing at a particular moment. Generally this is done through a smart phone or tablet, but it can also be done on your computer.

Larger social networks like Google+ and Facebook will share check-in information with connections. Stand-alone apps like Foursquare and GetGlue give you the option of sharing to larger networks, such as Facebook, Twitter and others.

Why should I check in?

Adoption of check-in apps has been slow to take off. Many users don’t really understand why they are beneficial or don’t want to annoy friends. However, there are some compelling reasons to use check-ins:

1) Endorse a business or attraction that deserves it.

Acknowledge great service publicly, share it with friends and be the hero that points a friend to a place they need or want but didn’t even know it.

Help promote events as they happen with a quick check-in. It can raise awareness of the event for future dates.

Reinforce existing relationships with business owners or service providers you know and appreciate. It shows your loyalty and helps them gain new clients.

2) Incentives (a.k.a., free stuff/discounts)

Who doesn’t like a deal? Or a freebie!?

Quite a few businesses will offer check-in deals.  Incentives range from “10% off your bill”, to “free <insert product> on 5th check-in”, or “free coffee to person who most frequently checks in to this location”.

Will most users check-in without an incentive? Probably not. So advertise it in your place of business and make sure you include it in your business’s description in check-in apps.

3) Good information

When you check in to a location on certain apps, you can share tips on the establishment. This is a great way to find out about products and deals that are happening, or as a resource for what’s happening nearby.

4) Fun

Of course there’s an element of fun to it - if there wasn’t, no one would do it. It’s interesting to see where people are going and hear what they thought about it. 

Staying safe while using check-in apps

While everything we’ve stated above creates solid reasons for using check-in apps, it’s important to be safe while you’re checking in:

Don’t check-in everywhere you go. If you limit the number of check-ins each week and the type of check-ins, you won’t inadvertently give someone a roadmap of your weekly routine.

Don’t check-in to places that reveal too much personal information. Examples include your children’s school, the local park, work and your house. 

Do you use check-in apps? If not, does the possibility of incentives make them more compelling?

What is it and why should I care: check in apps

Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C... Image via CrunchBase

What is it?

Foursquare is a location-based social networking website based on software for mobile devices. This service is available to users with GPS-enabled mobile devices, such as smartphones. Users “check-in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application by running the application and selecting from a list of venues that the application locates nearby. Each check-in awards the user points and sometimes “badges”. ~Wikipedia

There are many check-in apps, foursquare is just one of the most well known ones.  Facebook is now being widely used, and there is another check-in app called Get Glue that is more entertainment based.

There is also a game component to foursquare. You friend people on foursquare much the way you do on Facebook, and they can then compete against you for badges, leaderboards, etc. by getting points for check-ins.

Why should you care?

The biggest thing I hear with regards to these check-in apps is that people don’t want others to know where they are; that it’s too personal.

I agree with that. I don’t think that people should be checking in everywhere and anywhere that they are. So - why should you check in?

1 - check in if you are really pleased with the service somewhere.  By checking in and commenting (or sharing through your other networks), you are telling others that you recommend the service. It’s a nice thing to do.

2 - some companies will give you a discount for checking in, some for every 5 or 10 checkins and some for being mayor (the person who has most often checked-in to a location becomes the mayor).  Maybe you wouldn’t be inclined to tell everyone you were having dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory… unless you got 15% off your bill for it.

Which brings us to the next point, how should businesses use check-in apps.

1- If you have a physical location, make sure that your location is entered into as many check-in apps as possible. If someone wants to check in, make it easy for them.

2 - Offer an incentive - if you offer a discount people will be more inclined to check in than if you don’t.  This is great and cheap publicity for your business. The options for the discount are limitless.

Here are some ideas:

- 15% at a restaurant for checking in

- a draw for $100 gift certificate from everyone who checks in to your establishment over the course of a month

- a free ticket to the next event drawn from everyone who checks in to this year’s event

- a free massage for every 10 check ins at a spa

- free coffee or dessert for the mayor
The more businesses offer incentives the more people will check in to places - it’s a two way street and I believe that this will take off more and more in the coming months and years.

Do you use a check-in app? Which one? Do you use it for your business?

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