29. Local search tips for your business online
  • Posted:
  • February 19, 2012
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In post number 28, I talked about how Google Places could help your business in respect of local search.  There are a number of other very useful resources that should also be considered to support a small businesses website and online marketing campaign.

Four Square

If you run a location based business such as a bar, coffee shop, hairdressers, beauty salon, restaurant, etc, you definitely should consider registering with Four Square.

Four Square allows you to register your business / premises on their social network.  This is done by registering an account and claiming your business.  You then will need to wait for a confirmation code to be mailed to you through the post (to make sure you actual are registered at the address).  This code is then entered and your business is live on the network.

Four Square business verification card

Card that you should receive to verify your business / organisation on Four Square


You can then set up details about your business, products, opening times and even special offers.  This information is then available within the Four Square social network.

Like other social networks it allows people to add reviews.  This is very powerful as there is an increasing trend for people to use ‘crowd sourcing’ (seeking the opinions of others) before visiting or buying.

Mobile Search 

The real power in Four Square is mobile search.  You can download a free app to your smartphone (i.e. iPhone).  This then allows users to search for venues that are near to their location.

So imagine you are in a new town, you want somewhere to eat but have no recommendations.  Launch Four Square, it will use the location services in your phone to advise you of the locations nearby, with reviews and if the owners have any offers for users of Four Square.

Checking-in and Offers

An important feature that sets Four Square apart from other social networks is the ability to check-in to a location.  This is achieved by clicking the check-in button when you are in or near to a location on your smart phone.

Points and badges are awarded for every check-in and you can compete on leader boards with your friends.

However, some clever businesses have also been smart and made use of the offers feature.  This allows a business to set up offers that are available to Four Square users who check in i.e. 10% off the price of a meal.

Become the Mayor

Another interesting feature is that you can become a mayor of a location.  This is achieved by having the highest number of check-ins over a period of time.  If you continue to visit and check-in you remain as the mayor.  If someone else achieves more check-ins, you get ‘ousted’.

Now being the mayor of a location can be rewarding.  For example, a number of Dominoes Pizza offer a free small margarita pizza to the current mayor of the location on a Wednesday.  There are many others who have offers, you just need to find them.

So as a small business, why not offer a special offer for the mayor.   This will encourage people to come and check-in, hopefully bringing more trade.

Let People Know

Four Square is becoming widely known so let people know you can be found on Four Square.  Add it to your promotional details, website, display on menus, etc.

When you register you may even receive a window sticker to use at your location like the one below.


Four Square window sticker

Four Square window sticker


Used correctly Google Places and Four Square can help expand the reach of your online marketing.

Remember, Digital Ark will set up Google Places free of charge for all clients who have our pay monthly website service.

If you would like more information or would like to discus the options for your business or organisation, please contact me