Business Pro-Tip: Claim Your Foursquare and Yelp Venue Pages!

This blog post is to make you aware of “Check-In” sites. What are “Check-In” sites? Well, Facebook has the functionality built-in to their site, but there are plenty of others out there, as well. Foursquare, Google Places (which is also a part of Google+ now), Urbanspoon (for restaurants) and Yelp are the major ones that come to mind. Different sites cater to different crowds so it depends on what reason people have to “Check-In” to your place of business. Should people be interested in just letting their Facebook and Twitter friends know where they are and with whom, Facebook and Foursquare work best for that. Whereas, if people want to leave detailed reviews about their experience at your establishment, Google Places and Yelp tend to be the sites people lean toward. Nowadays, Yelp is almost completely comprised of jerks that want to say horrible things about your place of business, no matter what the experience was.

You may be wondering why I am bothering to post about these sites. Well, here’s some info you didn’t know…

*QUICK ASIDE*

I want to explain how these sites work, first and foremost. People with a smartphone, or other mobile devices, can go to your place of business and “Check-In” as being there by using the mobile device’s built-in GPS (Global Positioning System.) The GPS tracks your location within a certain distance using nearby Wi-Fi signal info and satellite linking, and then uses that info to render a list of nearby places within whichever app you are using (Foursquare, Yelp, etc.) via GeoFeed.

Now that that is out-of-the-way, let’s return to the topic at hand. Unlike any form of personal social media, you do not have to create your profile on these sites, like you would with your personal Facebook or Twitter accounts, anyone can make them. The fancy/ nerdy/ techy way of saying that is, if I go to a restaurant and open my Foursquare app so I can “Check-In” to that venue, Foursquare immediately uses my phone’s GPS to find my location and then renders a series of GeoFeeds based on that location. I can then choose any of the rendered results and “Check-In” to it, or I can create a new GeoFeed, if I choose. It doesn’t even matter if the place I want to create a GeoFeed for already has their own, I can make a new one with the same name. The info given for that GeoFeed (which is based on how honest or knowledgable I am about that location) is now your profile on that site. I am now in total control of your business profile on that site. I can change the website info, address, phone number, etc. at anytime.

EXAMPLE TIME

Let’s say that a bunch of drunk frat guys decide to stop at Denny’s for a post drinking meal after leaving the bar, as drunk people are wont to do. One of them decides to “Check-In” at Denny’s to keep his Facebook friends up-to-date on the night’s festivities.  He pops open his app of choice and the GPS renders a list of places around him to “Check-In” to. His drunk frat buddies, however, think it would be a hilarious joke to create a new page for Denny’s and to list their website as http://www.bustyasianbeauties.com. I think both you and I know that will not take you to the Denny’s website… They all have a good laugh, enjoy their “Moons O’er My Hammy” and head home to sleep it off.

The next time someone goes to “Check-In” at Denny’s, they will have two different pages to choose from, one of them is the wrong page. Denny’s is now stuck with that listing. As you can imagine, that might not align their company in the way that they prefer.

How do you combat this? Well, because of claims like this, sites like Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp allow business owners to claim their business so they can manage that page for free. You have to prove that you are the owner of that page and it can take weeks before you have full control over that page. Once you do, you can change any of the listed info and add other info, like links to your official site (probably not the Busty Asians one) or other social pages.

THE BEST PROTECTION IS PREVENTION

Either you or a friend of yours can show up to your business and sit down with their smartphone and create all of these pages yourself. Plug in the proper info from the get go, and then claim your business. Then you know that your listing on Yelp is correct until you gain control over that page. There is an upside to having these pages. Having a business listing on Google Places will always make your business more visible in an online search, which could greatly increase your customer base. Especially amongst people who are from out-of-town and are looking for a local place to have dinner or get their hair done or whatever.

WHY DOES ANY OF THAT MATTER?

As a business owner myself, I want to be able to control my web presence. I don’t want the wrong info out there, and I would assume you want your customers (or potential customers) to have the right info as well. Most of your businesses info is available to be edited by any member of a given site. So Foursquare members can alter any of the info about your business on your businesses Foursquare page, unless you claim you business. That will lock certain info (your location, phone number and website) so it can’t be changed by anyone except you. The sooner you claim your business page, the better off you are.

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About Alloy Matt
Happy Husband | Beardsman | Blogger | Dreamer | Wholigan | Drinker of Coffees | Tweeter of Hashtags | Gamer of Table Tops | Amature Astronomer | Fanboy of Apple

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