(See How do you make Foursquare relevant in small towns for an overview of how location-based services help you reach more potential visitors.)
By using Twitter Places, users can tie their tweet to your location without having to use up any of their 140 character limit. I see this as useful for events at your location, or festivals that bring lots of visitors to town. Users can see other nearby tweets, or can link directly to your location from the tweet (not your website, but your location).
Because Twitter has a huge existing user base, this has the potential to reach more people than specialty location-based services.
Get started with these two help files from Twitter:
Hat tip to John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing for pointing out Places.
Whrrl is one of those services that is growing on me. It has a small following right now, but lots of potential. The focus is on telling stories about a location with pictures and short messages. It also features “societies” or interest groups like mountain biking or Mexican food. Those are the features that make it interesting for tourism.
Whrrl also has an excellent free program for business owners, that they call a Merchant program. Of course, you can offer specials to customers, but it also gives you information about those customers, such as how many times they have visited or whether they are a regular. That’s much more valuable than only knowing about the one most frequent visitor.
Because there are so many location-based services, with more coming out all the time, we’ll continue to profile them here. We’ll focus on ones that are most promising for drawing visitors, as well as those that have features we can learn from.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.