As geo-location is finally proving to be an effective marketing tool for small and local businesses, it’s time we looked at how the most successful companies are using the current services.

In much the same vein as when Facebook launched the business dashboard to support Fan Pages, location-based platform foursquare provides a excellent set of management tools within their dashboard which allow businesses to manage the operation of their “Venue”.

But to do so, you’ll first need to claim your Venue…

foursquare business dashboard

How to Access your foursquare Venue

The first thing you’ll need to do is setup your own foursquare account. This is a crucial step, as without it, you’ll be unable to access any information related to your Venue.

Next, login to your personal account using the information you’ve provided upon signup.

From here you’ll need to navigate to the Venue page that you’d like to claim. After which, you’ll be able to confirm and add contact details to that Venue and provide a phone number so that foursquare can connect the Venue with your personal account.

Need a minute? Ok, go crazy. We’ll wait here…

How Long Will This Take?

When foursquare was still in it’s pre-pubescent phase earlier this year everything was done manually. In recent months, however, they’ve been making great strides towards automating this entire process. Except for a few kinks once in a while due to server over-load, everything seems to work quite smoothly now.

Where once some business owners were waiting up to three weeks for a response of their claim requests, today you should see an email in your inbox within a couple of hours, if not right away*. (*If you’re in the US. If you don’t have a US phone number, you’ll still be waiting 2-3 weeks for snail mail to arrive.)


Using the foursquare Dashboard

Once your Venue has been claimed (congrats by the way!), you’ll have immediate access to the entire foursquare dashboard. One of the best features to take advantage of at this point will have a lot to do with your company/employee social media policy.

The foursquare Dashboard allows you to exclude certain profiles from having the ability to compete for ‘mayorships’ (that’s when you become the most checked-in user for a given location). It’s a good idea to prevent your employees from being part of this process. They can still check-in and share information about your Venue, but they won’t be able to prevent others from obtaining the mayorship.

Major Dashboard Features

The Foursquare Dashboard presents the following data for business owners to assess:

  • Key Metrics (Overview of activity)
  • Total check-ins
  • Unique visitors
  • Percentage of check-ins shared with Twitter
  • Percentage of check-ins shared with Facebook
  • Gender percentages of check-ins
  • Top Visitors (3 listed)*
  • Most Recent Check-ins (12 listed)*
  • All Check-ins (detailed listing of all check-ins)
  • Time Breakdown (when users are checking in)

*Includes avatar, total check-ins at venue, Twitter handle if available, and date/time of most recent check-in.

foursquare unlock your city

How to Manage your foursquare Data

Each of these stats can be viewed (much like Google Analytics) over periods of time ranging from 24 hours to 90 days. One of the difficult things, even for Internet Marketing professionals, is to practice some form of restraint by NOT checking analytical data everyday.

It’s great to be informed, so by all means keep tabs on your vital metrics. But occasionally, step back from your stats and assess the overall trends in your data. An overview takes away daily fluctuations and will give you a better idea of where to make changes in your services offerings as you move forward.

It’s often useful to create an historic record of daily, weekly and monthly foursquare data sets.

While the Foursquare dashboard allows for certain long term tracking and graphs, it does not allow you to drill down into a specific date beyond the current and previous day.

Unfortunately, at present you’ll need to create that historic data yourself using manual exports of data into a third party spreadsheet or database application. But expect foursquare to ramp up their tracking in the coming months…

Do you use foursquare or other location based marketing strategies? Check-in with us and leave a comment, below: