In this blog post we will be discussing why location-based applications are important to your business and how to protect your business from false information.  

Location-based applications like Foursquare, Facebook Places, and Google Latitude are services that might not seem relevant to all business models. It is often thought that if your customer doesn’t physically come into your place of business on a regular basis then you have no need for location-based apps. This could not be further from the truth.

There are broadly two business groups that can use location-based apps to their benefit. The first group is retailers and businesses that come in face-to-face contact with their customers. Location-based apps can help these businesses in a variety of ways, such as establishing a rewards program or distributing coupons. Ultimately for this group location-based apps are about customer loyalty and snagging new business. For this group I suggest reading Mashable’s guide on how to start marketing on Foursquare.

What this post is concerned with is the second group consisting of businesses that do not deal with their customers and clients on a regular face-to-face basis. Naturally this group would have a harder time seeing the value in using location-based apps. Does this ever-growing technology have a place in their strategy? I would argue yes, it has a huge role to play.

When you fall into this second group your key focus is protecting your company from false information. Location-based apps can serve as electronic businesses directories and store the same information that you would find if you searched your business on Google Maps or Yelp. You want to make sure that all of the information listed about your business is correct or you will be left looking questionable and unprofessional. This means creating your business profiles before someone else does so that you can completely control the information being displayed.

The beauty and also the problem with location-based apps is that most anyone can create business profiles. The proper verification measures are not always taken to ensure the person creating a business profile is in fact a legitimate representative of that business. The plus side to this is that if you are a businesses owner, this means you can set up profiles quickly and in a short amount of time. On the other hand, the downside is that if someone else creates your profiles for you and logs incorrect information you can spend precious time cleaning up their mess. I am not suggesting that there is malicious intent when someone accidently misspells your company’s name, but mistakes do happen. Misspellings, incorrect addresses, and incorrect phone numbers are just a few of the many things that can happen when someone else creates your profile on a location-based app.

The moral of the story is to get ahead of the game and create profiles, accounts, listings, ect. for your business before someone else does. In our next post we will discuss three steps you can take to assess your presence on location-based apps and then how to go about creating profiles. Stay tuned!