Foursquare has quietly been making moves that will have a major impact on local businesses and local internet marketing. The service is already used to check in at a variety of places, and now their reach will be expanding.
The first new feature is the explore option for non-registered users, and the attached ratings update. Explore lets users search for specific kinds of businesses and deals and gives them recommendations. With the new ratings update, users will see a rank from 1-10 next to the location name.
This is important for businesses because Foursquare is promising more accurate ratings than the usual customer review system. They are basing their rankings off of tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, and check ins. As more users are attracted to the service, businesses will have to pay attention to exactly how the algorithm is functioning and be sure to keep their review scores high.
The second new feature is an expanded Facebook check in. With the new update, users can check in friends who aren’t Foursquare users. They simply click the “add a friend” icon when they’re checking in and select them off the list. Their friend will be tagged and Facebook will mark it on both of their walls.
This is good for businesses because it’s another way that you can land in peoples’ news feeds. The more times people see your name, the better. This is especially true when they know their friends are already customers. Being able to tag non-users will encourage people to tag more, so you’ll land on more news feeds.