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Using Foursquare for Your Brand

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If you missed the news, Foursquare just did a major redesign of their app. From a design standpoint, it is slick, and appealing to the eye. Foursquare is betting big on discovery. Foursquare is pivoting itself away from checking-in and focusing on finding various different establishments. This could be a great thing for Foursquare and brands if they can convince their loyal followers to continue to use it. Since the launch of Swarm, many users have been frustrated by their decision to split their apps up. It was not received well, and the tech news sites have been wondering if Foursquare is relevant anymore.

Personally, I had no problem with Swarm, Foursquare’s spin-off app. It worked most of the time, and I encountered almost no bugs. Checking-in became a carousel game. I would log into Foursquare to get the right spot, and then it would launch Swarm. To me, that was a minor hassle, but to a lot of users, that was not cool. For the most part, Swarm worked as intended. There just didn’t really seem a use for it. To this day I rarely check-in anymore.

However, since the launch of the new Foursquare, I think, this my might help bolster or embolden it’s user to use it more. It could even grab new users. The new focus is location discovery. What Foursquare is trying to do is understand a person likes and suggest events, foods, drinks, and many other factors based on those options. This is great to get tailored made recommendation based on a person’s taste. This is not the most interesting part of the new Foursquare, or what will help drive businesses to find ways of attracting new customers to their place of business. Expertise is what I like to call the new “badges.” This allows users to showcase themselves as being experts in categories ranging from coffee shops to theme parks. This is a clever ploy to get users to comment and recommend aspects of a particular store. In return, this will help Foursquare gets more people to come back if it works as intended. It’s still new so no one has “game the system” yet. This is what the majority of the blog post will be focusing on. How to help businesses use the new Foursquare better than before. I am pretty sure most are using it quite well.

What is Being an “Expert” on Foursquare Really Mean?

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It means that users have checked-in and give great info on different places within a particular category. Users can be an expert in more than one category, but in being an expert, users have to comment and get other users to like it. After so many comments a likes, a user will become an expert. After that, every comment the user makes will put an “expertise” they have under their name. It’s a way to showcase what a person may know about a particular field, like coffee. This will, hopefully, encourage trust with each review that a person writes. Foursquare is hoping this will help more user engagement with businesses, and its app or that is more of my speculation on that.

Getting Experts in The Door:

This will be the first major hurdle with any business. How do we get those “experts” in the door? I would suggest giving deals to those experts on your Foursquare page. It’s the easiest option and the best one. Now the savings depend on how much you want to give away. It should be something that values them, but doesn’t break your bank. Even giving something away for free may not be a bad idea, but that is depending on your budget. The second thing is that someone has to inform the staff about what to look for. Since there are various different categories and each of them, an expert, staff have to look at what type of expert they are, or what Foursquare has deemed them to be. This will also encourage patrons and others to become an expert in coffee if the place of business is a coffee shop. When other people see the reviews and some experts have recommended the place to others this could help drive business, and build trust before they walk into the shop or store. I feel compelled to warn everyone that doing this can be a double-edged sword. If an expert has a bad experience they could also hurt your business so be sure you are ready for this and your staff is trained as well. You could also ask permission if you could tell your followers to ask them when about what to get at your store. Building a local expert advocating how great your store is a great way to build engagement, and build a community specific to your business. When you have enough experts giving rave reviews, if could be a great way of saying how great your spot is. I am hoping Foursquare will allow business to create custom experts for businesses to give out to the best users.

Cities Can Utilize These Experts Also:

For every PR person working in the tourism industry in a city, Foursquare also has “experts” in the field of each city. This could be a great help to drive your tourism campaigns. Asking those experts on great spots throughout the city is a good start. Displaying them on your other social media sites, with permission of course. In all the brochures have Foursquare comments on great spots throughout the city. There could also be a website that the tourism bureau builds that has Google Maps, or Bing Maps and displays sites with experts raving all the great local spots. If there is a budget for this, contract out these experts to give you great tips for people visiting your city. This could in turn allow you as the PR/Social Media Professional can write a blog post about great spots using the Foursquare data. If you really wanted to get creative, do a profile on your handful of experts. This is great to highlight them, and if you are daring enough have a tweet chat with the #askthe4squareexpert or something in that way. Another great aspect is on the website highlighting “expert approved” headline on some great restaurants. Even doing a blog post on great local spots in (name of city), and add those reviews from “coffee shop experts” would be a great idea.

For Events:

Event planners could pool at a team of experts in various different fields on Foursquare. This could be “helpers” for attendees to find great local spots they would never know. I would recommend contracting them out, or give some kind of incentive to do it for free. Big events can be overwhelming for people, so creating blog posts of offering attendees to look at profiles from local experts is a great way for them to find great local coffee shops or restaurants. I do recommend asking these people if you could use their reviews or profiles before doing it. The brochures can be a part of the collateral material your company hands out at the events.

What I’m Hoping To See In The Future:

I am hoping to see a, “create your own expertise” for business. This could be a great way to give extra incentive for users to review and comment on the business. Foursquare could give parameters for how expertise can only work. This can give business a great way of building their own experts. Specific experts could receive exclusive deals, that only they can receive. This could work only if the business gives a perceived value. This means the customer thinks there’s an inherent value in writing a review or a comment.

The Jury Is Still Out:

Foursquare redesign is still new, and this change could help or really hamper the company when it comes to success. Let’s see if this redesign gains the traction it needs to bring the company back to it’s form glory days. Time will only tell.

Bonus!

I found this great article on designing the new Foursquare on Medium. Check it out!
https://medium.com/@sambrown/designing-the-new-foursquare-8f8788d366

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