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Social media is here to stay.

Sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn have become engrained in our everyday life for better or worse. Since it’s not going anywhere, now is the perfect time to use it as a marketing tool to grow your business. One of the best ways to use social media to grow your customer base is by encouraging social media check-ins from your place of business.

Today, we’ll talk about the power of social check-ins and how they can be used to increase your company’s visibility in the local market.

What is a check-in?

Social media users can use one of several services to check-in to your business whenever they’re there. By “checking in” using apps like Facebook and Foursquare, people let their friends, family, and followers know that they visited and enjoyed your business.

What are the benefits to my business?

You can use the check-ins to build a customer loyalty program if you don’t have one already or even use it to complement and existing one. These programs encourage engagement from customers, can improve the customer retention, and you can offer discounts and incentives for checking-in.

You’ll also be able to track data about your customers who check in. By doing so you’ll be able to see what kind of habits they have, how often they check in, and what kind of engagement they have with your business. This will allow you to tailor future marketing campaigns to your new ideal customer.

These check-ins will also help to build your social branding. Each check-in that is shared with friends and/or followers is free advertising for you. Say your customer checks in via Facebook, the check-in will connect with your businesses own Facebook page that will not only reinforce credibility and authenticity, demonstrate your popularity in the community, but also gives potential new customers a chance to explore your online presence.

How do I get my customers to check-in?

We’ve already talked about offering your customers discounts and incentives. Another way to get your customers to check in is with signage that lets them know you’re listed on different social media sites such as Foursquare and Facebook.

Foursquare will provide stickers and window clings that you can put up in your store and on the store front window, meanwhile Facebook provides free printable tents and stickers. These options are both generic and won’t include your business user name. You can also get a QR code which customers can quickly scan into their phones and will lead them automatically to your business on the check-in site of your preference.

Some businesses have found a way to use check-ins to give back to the local community. They’ll pair up with local charities. They’ll agree that for every check-in they receive from customers that they’ll make a donation. According to Foursquare 41% of charities use them.

Check-ins can be a great way to involve your customers and to reward them as well as spreading the word of your business. If you want to start promoting social check-ins at your place of business, consider investing in a vinyl banner listing all the places your business can be “checked” on online.

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