Social WiFi is basically a WiFi hotspot which requires users to use their social media accounts to login to the free WiFi hotspot, although sometimes referred to as Facebook WiFi, users can usually login with most of the major social networks like Twitter, Linkedin and Google+
The main benefit Social WiFi Hotspots is that customers will be required to 'Like' your business's Facebook page in order to access the free WiFi. Just in case you having been living in a cave for the past decade or don't use social media here is a quick explanation of the benefits of social media and social media marketing.
The average Facebook user has 338 friends, every time they share a picture, a post or link, all of their 338 friends will see it. Every time a customers visits and logs in to your WiFi Hotspot with their social media account, Likes your business's Facebook Page to get access, that Like/recommendation will be shared with all of their 338 friends. Just 10 people using your free WiFi will result in 3380 people basically seeing an advert for your business, for free.
I understand many people are reluctant to open a personal Facebook account for a number of reasons but you can just create an extremely basic profile, use a pseudonym, include virtually no information, no picture and use this profile to create a Facebook page. (Facebook Profiles are for people, Facebook Pages are for Businesses, Bands, Celebrities, Community Groups etc.). There are loads of simple guides online and on Youtube videos showing you how to set up a Facebook page for your business or you could ask a social media savvy friend to set one up for you.
The other main benefit of 'Social WiFi' is that you will begin to start building a powerful customer database for marketing and access to customer information such as age, sex, relationship status, employment status and more which will help you to target customers more effectively. You can use your Facebook Page to promote your business by offering discounts to those Fans who share your offers, which will encourage engagement on social media and grow your fan base. Facebook advertising is a far more effective method than delivering flyers to every house in every street as all your Facebook Page fans will be customers already, it will be targeted advertising, and again, all for free. If you want to see a good example of social networking advertising check out Coca Cola's Facebook page, you will see they have 85,000,000 'Likes/Fans'.
In a recent study by Purple WiFi (a Social WiFi hotspot provider) found that 78% of respondents actually seek free WiFi when out in public places, however they also found that 66% of respondents where unsure of how to use a free WiFi hotspot. Social WiFi aims to make it easier, customers just connect to your Hotspot, Like your Facebook Page and are online.
Personally, I don't like using my social media account to login to websites and other services as I feel they will have access to more personal information than I am comfortable with. I am, however, in a minority and most people, in the age of the Selfie, are more than happy to use their social media accounts and share personal information to get free WiFi access.
So as you can see adding a Social WiFi hotspot to your business will have multiple benefits, firstly it will attract customers seeking free WiFi into your place of business, secondly it will equip you with a powerful (and free) marketing tool (Facebook) and thirdly, it will help you to reach potential customers.
There are lots of companies who provide Social WiFi Hotspot software and equipment, usually with a basic free package and a monthly fee for more features. I have not tested any of these yet but will do soon and post a review of the best ones.