A few weeks ago I wrote an article for higher education marketers introducing them to Foursquare. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Foursquare, it is a location-based social network that also doubles as a game. By becoming a mayor and gaining badges there are certain addicting elements to the whole experience. It is definitely a game that college students could easily get into, especially as the percentage of students owning smart phones continues to grow.
There were quite a few interesting questions about Foursquare that came up in the comments, through discussions and other channels, so I thought it would be worth a follow-up post to clarify a few things. Let me just start by saying that Foursquare is much more relevant to institutions in urban areas. If your school is located in a large city then you need to be aware of this major network. If your school doesn’t fall into this category, it’s not quite as important but still better to know than not know.
Creating a New Location
Contrary to what some may think, you don’t have to create a new location through the mobile app. It is true that you can do this, but it’s not necessary. Personally the easiest way I believe to create a new location is to go to the website and perform a search for a location. From this screen you can input the address and all the necessary information including the Twitter handle for a business, like a school.
Still, you can add a new location through the mobile app by doing a search and when it can’t find the location say that you like to add the location. But I find that doing it with a real screen and keyboard is much easier.
Editing an Existing Location
As far as I know, you can’t edit a location through the mobile app. There are a couple of ways to edit a location depending on the detail that you need to edit the location.
Putting Venue in a Category: This can be accomplished after you have visited a location by going to your History page and putting your mouse over the icon. Note this ONLY works if a category has not been chosen for the location. If the location has already been put in a category then only the mayor can change the category. Read on for how to become the mayor.
If you are the mayor then on the venue page a pencil icon is added where you can update/change the location information. You can also change or add a category, but you still don’t have the ability to delete a category from a location. The mayor also has the ability to drag the pin on the map to edit the location.
Add Tags to a Venue: Anyone can add a tag to a venue. The individual who added the tag also has the ability to delete this tag. Tagging venues is encouraged. Certain tags have been reserved for promotions and special events and may not be added to locations except by certain individuals.
Becoming a Mayor
Mayorship of a location is based on the number of daily checkins to a location in the past sixty days. This means a few things:
- You do not get credit for checking into a location more often than once a day.
- If you checkin to a location but all your checkins were more than two months ago it is very easy for someone to come steal your mayorship.
- In order to steal a mayorship you need +1 checkins than the current mayor.
- To find out how many checkins a mayor has at a location you need to visit the venue page and highlight over the picture of the mayor. This will popup an alt text with the mayor’s name and their checkins in the last 60 days.
How to Get Badges
This can mean two different things, depending on if you are a user or a marketer.
How to unlock badges: The most common way to do this is to checkin to special locations. For a more complete answer you should look at this complete list of Foursquare badges.
How to get a new badge created: Only Foursquare can tell you what the charge is to create a new badge. You can find out more information on Foursquare’s business page.
Other Interesting Business Applications
If you are the business owner of a venue there are additional things that you can do like unlock specials for people that checkin a certain number of times or every X number of checkins. I’ve been trying to think of ways that colleges and universities can take advantage of this, and other than offering students extra lunch spending money or as an alternative to signing into a special event I don’t really have a whole lot of ideas. I will say that this is one area to watch. I’m sure additional ideas and opportunities will come up as this network evolves.
Any Other Questions?
So do you have other questions about this network? This covered all the questions I specifically remembered, but leave a comment and I’ll try to answer any others that you might have.