It’s been a busy summer over at the Foursquare Headquarters. The latest in a slew of changes that have come over the social networking company is the introduction of Local Updates for businesses.

Engaging Loyal Customers on Foursquare

While Foursquare was always a good place for customers to check-in at businesses and maybe attach a comment along with it, there wasn’t much that businesses could do to interact back with them. That has now changed, as Local Updates affords businesses a way to keep a conversation going with their loyal customers. By Foursquare standards, loyal customers are people who have either liked a business or have checked-in on a pretty frequent basis.

Therefore, you must set up a Foursquare business Page to give customers another way to show their loyalty. These Pages brings together photos, text and all the tips people have shared over Foursquare. Foursquare Pages have been available to small businesses for a year and if you have one, you can collect likes somewhat like Facebook.

How Local Updates Works

With the new Local Updates these customers will now be able to view messages from a business in the Friends tab of the new app. The Local Updates can be a special, but don’t have to be; it can simply be just a message to your customers about a menu item, a special event that might be going on, or even just a funny happening at the business. Up to three photos can be attached to each update – a feature that should be used to increase the chances that a customer will notice your message.

Promoted Updates: Coming Soon to Small Businesses

In addition to the Local Updates, Foursquare has also started rolling out ways to advertise on the platform in the name of Promoted Updates. Promoted Updates are virtually the same as Local Updates, except for the people that they will reach. Where the Local Updates reach people who are already fans of a business, Promoted Updates reach people who aren’t fans but might be. This is defined as people who check in at similar venues often, people who are friends with others who check in at the business often, or people who have added the business to one of their lists. Much like how Twitter began to advertise, these Promoted Updates are only available to large businesses at the moment and will begin to roll out to small businesses over the coming months.

With these new features, Foursquare is beginning to turn into a more interactive platform for both businesses and their customers. These new features are not to be ignored, as Local Updates are a easy and effective way to keep your business in the minds of customers who love you. When Promoted Updates start to become available for all small businesses in the coming months, they are another feature that should be looked into.

Give us your thoughts on if you think this is a sign that Foursquare is finally going to become another social media marketing powerhouse!