We have noticed some nice changes when it comes to “Checking in” on social media sites lately. For those of you who don’t know, “Checking in” is a way for you to mark where you are in real time. Popular social media sites like Facebook, Foursquare, and Google + have a feature on their mobile versions that allow you tell everyone where you are via the GPS on your smart device. Many of you are probably saying, “Well, that is stupid!”. Stupid or not, people are doing it by the millions!
Checking in on social media sites offers some opportunities to businesses. Your customers can actually check in to your office, sending out a non threatening, non-marketing notification of where they are. This is instant word of mouth to all their social media connections. Check ins also show activity at your map location. It has been hinted that search giants like Google may at some point include this activity in their search algorithm. (Pure speculation of course!).
Check-ins also allow you or your staff a chance to show off your office when you are at work. Many of the check-in providers like Foursquare also allow you to attach offers to check ins. You could possible offer a bleaching special to those who check in to your office. You give them a deal and they tell all their friends (the average person has over 100 friends on Facebook) about your office. Adding your business information to sites like Foursquare also create links and citations back to your website and Google listing, so why aren’t you checking in?
Recently we noted that Foursquare has started to use the open map display system. The Open Map project is a open source map much like Mapquest or Google maps. The recent changes in Foursquare also accompanied larger displays on Facebook. A Foursquare user can opt to feed their check ins to their Facebook wall. This will not only show their Foursquare friends, but their Facebook friends too!
What many people don’t know is, Google + actually has a check in feature on their mobile application. It is very inconspicuous but very important. Google + checkins actually use listings form Google places and maps. One could speculate that these check ins could become very important to the Google local search algorithm because you actually have to be near the location to check in. Google places great importance on real people interaction with map and review content. I would encourage all of you to get a Google + listing as well as a Google + page for your business. Once you do, check in every day!!!!
Here is how I do it: The check in feature can be seen in the upper right hand corner. Hint, it is a check.
When I hit the check in button a list of nearby places are presented. I choose my office and either add a picture or a quote. I like to keep them funny or informative, but something that will make other people comment!
The Check in shows up on my Google + feed. If you examine the post further, it is actually a link to my Google places listing. What a great way to share my listing!!