23.Nov.2010 Beyond the Crown: Making Foursquare Matter

Most of the time, when I try to explain Foursquare, the non-user equates it to a childish game. To the outsider,  it’s a waste of time and I get that. I admit that the majority of my mayorships are meaningless aside from my own personal satisfaction.

However, at its core – Foursquare gives users the opportunity to benefit from an interconnected social community while providing business owners the chance to analyze and attract a (new) customer base like never before.

Here are a few tips to make it happen.

General Users:

  • Avoid sharing every single check-in with Facebook and Twitter. Be smart about who can see your location and chose to share only when relevant and interesting to your friends and followers.
  • Once you create a location, make sure to take the extra step and add appropriate categories and tags. This will prevent duplicate venues and also build your local community.
  • Share tips! *78% of users report trusting peer recommendations over marketing messages. Take the extra time to leave suggestions, fun facts and do’s/don’ts.
  • Agree with a tip? Have you done something someone else recommends? Use the “I’ve done this” feature to move tips up.
Example of analytics available to business owners via Foursquare

Example of analytics available to business owners

Business Owners:

  • Claim your venue. This will give you access to data about who visits yourlocation and when. College crowd hitting your restaurant after bar-close? Use this information to target your audience with incentives.
  • Add a trial special. Already give a discount with a student ID? Choose something easy to implement and see what happens.

Now, I want to know your thoughts. I welcome questions, comments and debate.

Is geolocation the next big thing or another distraction in an ever increasing world of social applications?

Mayorships aside, does Foursquare matter to you? Why or why not?

Please take a moment to complete this brief survey regarding Foursquare (you don’t have to be using it). Results will be posted here next week. Thanks in advance for your participation.

There are 10 Comments to "Beyond the Crown: Making Foursquare Matter"

  • Foursquare is fun! I like to check out tips that other users create. I’m super excited for Black Friday and all of the fun places I can check in while I shop! It’ll also be cool how many other shoppers are checking in and leaving tips. :)

  • JJ Kim says:

    very good post, Gia. I use Foursquare myself very often. I “check-in” under following categories:

    1. Wedding Venues: when I shoot wedding, if the location is interesting, i would check in with comment (not tip) what’s so interesting about this location, and my brides can look it up later if they are interested.
    2. good (or bad) restaurant: nothing more frustrating when you go out to eat, and food/service is bad! I check for yelp.com before I go (if dinner was planned), but when I just need to stop by and grab something to eat, I use fourquare (or yelp -only if I have time) to see what’s around. I check-in to one place, and usually leave a tip whether it was good or bad.
    3. my studio: just to show that I could come in and work at some abnormal hours (like 11PM or 3AM, LOL!)
    4. but NEVER my home! I left it out for sure. Foursquare does not have very good security (IMO). You can check out someone’s profile who is in same place without being their friend. You can see their history, tips, friends, etc. So I would be just be more careful with where you leave your footstep (def. not where you live).

    Mayorship does not matter to me. I think the purpose was to encourage users to use it more often, but to me, no biggie.

    • Avatar of Gia Rassier Gia Rassier says:

      JJ, Thanks for the great insight.

      I think you raise an interesting point about privacy on Foursquare as well when it comes to “checking in” at home. I think its definitely important to be careful about both who you add as a friend and also when it’s appropriate to appear “off the grid.”

      You mentioned that mayorship doesn’t matter to you which I think is both interesting and relevant to the discussion. Aside from venues who offer incentives specifically for the mayor, its pointless. I’d be interested to know how many other people agree with you about mayorships not mattering. In my opinion, the whole “mayorship” thing turns people off to Foursquare as it comes across very game-ish. It’s similar to the proverbial “I’m-eating-a-sandwich” mentality regarding Twitter. What do others think?

      • JJ Kim says:

        that is exactly why Mayorship doesn’t matter too much to me, just like you said, it’s becoming pointless kids playing. On the other hand, when the venue offers discount for mayorship or check-in, it may attract more people, but again, just like Alyssa said, it gets frustrating sometimes when the employee is not on the same page.
        As you mentioned, be careful with accepting the friend request (just like you should on Facebook), because they can figure out a whole lot…
        Thank you, Gia, for starting a great post.
        Cheers.

  • Alyssa says:

    I need to constantly remind myself to use foursquare, however would like it to become more of a habit. I would also like to see more local businesses take advantage of the check-in incentives as it would drive more loyalty to a place as a user. I tried to use it at Gap with the check-in discount one time, but the employee didn’t even know what I was talking about. That is when it becomes frustrating.

    • Avatar of Gia Rassier Gia Rassier says:

      Alyssa, I can relate to the frustration of trying to use a special at a location that hosts its special unbeknownst to its employees. I encountered the same problem at TGIF in Fargo where I eventually got the reward (but the employee definitely had no idea what Foursquare was in the first place). Businesses need to do a better job of educating staff about store specific incentives. Even something as simple as a memo above the time-clock or in the break-room.

      Also, once you’ve claimed your venue on Foursquare, they send you a window cling urging people to check in. Even something as simple as making sure that gets hung up could at least be a visual reminder that may prevent the blank stare at the register.

  • Great post Gia. I’ve been checking-in since this summer and I’ve noticed it’s a very niche thing. I think when the waive is over only a select number of businesses will find a user base. There are a lot of glitches in the Mayor system that don’t make any sense from a programming state of mind that I’m sure are still being addressed, but from an end user’s position it’s great to be a part of a group that happens to be checking-in at the same time. I’ve checked-in to places and had people approach me, it’s become an interesting conversation starter. I’d like to see FourSquare pair up with Google Places somehow.

    • Avatar of Gia Rassier Gia Rassier says:

      Shaymein, Thank you for your insight. Totally agree about some of the glitch issues with the Mayor and checking in system. Comparatively, I appreciate Gowalla’s use of GPS to instantaneously create a location based on coordinates – and also the ability to add the tags/categories via smart phone. I find it rather frustrating that in order to be a “responsible creator” on foursquare, you have to login online and edit the venue. It will be interesting to see how those issues are addressed in the future as the company moves forward. Still waiting for the day that someone approaches me because I checked in!

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