Inc. Magazine recently published a great article on how more and more business owners are utilizing location-based social media tools and leveraging them for revenue and brand awareness. While it remains to be seen which emerging tool will come out on top (usually the first one is), it’s only a matter of time before it becomes the norm to fuse bricks & mortar with bricks & clicks through the mobile sphere.
Large companies with fat bus. dev. budgets (e.g. Starbucks) are blazing the trail, but at this very moment, it still appears to be a novelty. On the other hand, smaller businesses can roll out and leverage these same tools with a relatively short learning curve, basically requiring only optimism and commitment to make it work to their advantage. While lots of people are utilizing programs like foursquare and yelp, most merchants are oblivious to it. And like any level of customer service, you NEED to listen to your clients. Social networking is just another realm that you need to tap into to stay in tuned with them.