*This is a partial reprint of Liana Li Evans’ article from ClickZ
With the exponential growth of Foursquare over the past year, there’s a reason why Facebook is rushing to capitalize on the mobile advertising with its own geo-social networking feature, “Places.” The opportunity is great for small businesses if they can harness interested Facebook users utilizing these types of services. They already see it with Foursquare’s user base, as people post to their profiles from the Foursquare smartphone apps.
However, that being said, geo-social networks are still not the mainstream social communities that Twitter and Facebook are. These geo-social networking communities rely heavily on smartphone adoption to allow the community member to get the best value out of the community. Many times I’ve walked into a local store, logged in, became the mayor, and told the owner, and guess what, they had no idea what I was talking about.
These geo-social networks provide a great opportunity for small businesses to find and engage with their most loyal customers and smart small business owners would be wise to adopt some kind of engagement strategy for utilizing these networks and their users. Most likely, these loyal users of applications like Foursquare, Gowalla, or Yelp have some affinity to the place they are logging into and if they are a mayor or they are uploading digital media along with their check-ins, you might even have found an evangelist for your local business.