Well, the market for Check in Apps is still open with Gowalla and Foursquare leading the charge. Certainly, Google and FaceBook have eyes on this genre of social media and one of them may well become the dominant player. For the moment, it makes sense to use them all. If nothing else, you may get inbound links and validation of your business that improves your ranking in Google Places.
Briefly, a Check in App is a way for people with smart phones, or iPhones, to register their physical presence at a business or point of interest. The reasoning behind doing it varies from just being silly to getting ideas about where to go and what to do when in strange locations. By looking to see where your friends check in, or seeing a general trend of check ins – you may be able to see that some businesses are more popular than others. You may also see reviews that would help you pick a business. And, some proactive businesses may have incentives that would encourage you to cross the street and try their business.
Getting Started with Gowalla
Foursquare allows you to set up a business listing, but Gowalla requires the initial listing be created by ‘someone’ visiting the business and establishing a first check-in. I know because I asked and got the following reply.
All spots are created by users out and about on their favorite smartphone. While standing at the location that you would like to add, open Gowalla on your phone and go to the Spots tab. Click the “+” sign to add the Spot. Fill out the name of the location, a description, and choose from the category list to help people know what kind of spot it is. After finishing that, click “create spot.” Then, make sure that you check-in and go online and claim your Spot.
To claim your spot, make sure you are logged in on www.gowalla.com Find your Spot by clicking on the Spots tab at the top and searching for it. On the right hand side of the screen underneath the map, there will be a “claim my Spot” button. Follow the instructions there and you should be good to go. After you have claimed your spot, make sure you let others know about it, and add a custom welcome message or tell people about a discount they get for checking in. And, if you’re feeling especially fun, have our creative team design your Spot its own custom Gowalla Passport Stamp.
Gowalla – Culture Evangelist
Based on that, it makes sense for all business owners to get someone (perhaps themselves) with a smart phone to check in to Gowalla at their business. That initiates the listing, from which point the business owner can take ownership and start optimizing their listing.