FourSquare has already made a major splash in urban areas. Businesses thrive on competitions for mayor of their location, and check in reports provide valuable link building and traffic. Still, for all its popularity, the value of FourSquare outside of densely populated urban centers is often called into question.
In some ways, questioning the value of FourSquare for businesses located in the other 95% of the universe is quite a valid point. When there is only one FourSquare user within a three hour driving radius of your company, what’s the point of participating at all? Truthfully, there is one. Businesses in sparsely populated zones may have to use FourSquare more strategically than business in densely populated zones, but they should still make an effort to be using FourSquare.
Own Your Local Profile
With FourSquare, there are two ways for a business to get entered into the network. The business can do it themselves, or some passer-by looking to check in to the location can enter the business profile. It doesn’t take genius to understand that as a business, it is better to own your own profile, especially in areas where there are few people who will create a profile for you.
Building out a FourSquare business profile takes just a few minutes, but as with any business listing, do it yourself and doing it right brings value. You can include the proper link back to your business, hours of operation, contact information, and a photo. All of this information is indexed for search within a few hours of posting and given priority over non-authority listings.
Get SEO Boosts Without Check-Ins
Now that you own your profile, it is possible for your business to get SEO boosts from FourSquare even if you have very few people checking in at the business on regular basis. Bing, Google, and other search systems are giving FourSquare locations a showcase when people do local search. Thus, a search for “Nebraska Hotels” will bring up FourSquare properties as featured locations. This enhanced rank status is independent of PPC campaigns, making the links appear more organically to potential customers.
Build Out Tips
Another way to leverage the FourSquare platform in a sparsely populated area is to build out tips about your business and the area for passing users. Within FourSquare, it is possible to attach notes and comments to a business location – many users post here for comments on food, service, or where to get the best table, just to name a few examples. Business owners can also write here, noting best times to visit, specials, or other regional tips. Even without a steady stream of check-in commentary, these authoritative tips can provide search value as well as serve as a draw for FourSquare users passing through the area.
Be The Leader
As a final consideration, getting your business up on FourSquare even when you’re not in a densely populated area allows you to be a market leader. While others overlook it, you have the opportunity to benefit from FourSquare’s local search boosts and ability to pull in new eyeballs and bodies to your business. Even without a dense population base to drive the game-like features of FourSquare, your business can still lead the pack by being present in the FourSquare world.
Image Credit: Nan Plamero