5 creative ways brands can use foursquare ‘tips’

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I’ve sat in a few meetings recently debating the relevancy of foursquare – the location-based social platform that may, or may not, be part of the average person’s social media repertoire over the next few years.

No matter your personal view, it is difficult to argue against the possibilities of the platform, especially for brands.

I thought it was worth looking at some of the ways brands can use the foursquare ‘tips’ function to engage with customers, add value and build loyalty.

(Note: foursquare’s ‘tips’ function is predominantly in place for people to pass on useful information to others who visit the same venue) 

Let’s get to the fun stuff…

These ideas are based on taking a less literal view of the ‘tips’ function, thinking with a brand / venue hat on.

1. Hidden specials / offers

This involves the brand / venue ‘owner’ featuring a special offer in the tips section i.e. “If you are in the store today and spot this tip, ask our staff about the exclusive 2-4-1 deal we have on product X”

Why does this add value?

The customer who ‘stumbles’ across this tip is given an exclusive offer for taking an ‘active’ interest in the brand (by checking in / viewing the tips section) – in other words, an unexpected reward.

It also gives that person a reason to tell others about the offer, potentially driving footfall.

2. Staff recognition / feedback

In theory, foursquare could potentially ‘kill off’ the traditional feedback form / card you might find at a venue.

Instead, brands can encourage patrons to provide feedback on staff via the tips section.

Why does this add value?

Awards like ’employee of the month’ would be selected by the most important stakeholder of them all, the customer.

Customers who leave feedback / tips could be incentivized for doing so, or one lucky person could be rewarded at the end of each month.

Note: The fear for some brands is that this feedback could be negative, having a detrimental impact on the brand and the staff in questions, but on the plus side, negativity can be dealt with immediately as opposed to not being flagged up whatsoever.

3. Capitalize on nearby locations / links

This is already happening to a degree where brands / business will leave tips at venues in the vicinity in which they operate to bring them to the attention of people checking in nearby.

For example, you could check into Holborn Underground Station in London and be greeted by a message from me letting you know that our agency is just up the road.

This is just an illustration, but you can imagine a hotel adopting an approach like this, perhaps picking up the odd customer along the way.

Why does this add value?

This could easily get quite annoying, so selective use of this tactic is an important consideration.

But, when activated in a useful manner, this could be received really well by consumers if you are helping to make their day easier by providing directions / advice in an intuitive manner.

4. Passing it on

We all know that being recommended something by a friend or someone with first hand experience is very compelling.

I can best bring this to life via a visit to my supermarket ahead of  recent World Cup match.

This supermarket in question had a special World Cup offer which was almost too good to be true.

Now, if I had been encouraged to share this offer via foursquare at the point of purchase I potentially could have passed this deal on to more people via my network.

Why does this add value?

This one is potentially a win / win / win.

The venue benefits from the offer being made more public.

The referee benefits from the incentive offered.

The person who sees the offer via the ‘referee’ is made aware of a deal they may not have come across otherwise.

5. Aggregate top tips

For so many years, brands have had to collate customer feedback from so many different avenues.

Thanks to foursquare, people can leave all these tips in one place and this gives brands the chance to highlight all this feedback in one place.

This might simply involve uploading the best comments to the company website or using them in media materials.

Why does this add value?

For the public, having access to ‘real’ feedback in one place is very useful, helping them to make informed decisions.

Brands are not only adding value to their customers but aggregating this content, but also improving the perception of their ‘offer’ in the process.

Note: This could  be as simple as highlighting a ‘tip of the day’.

Taking it further…

There are so many other things brands can do, even doing something as basic as responding to tips left by patrons via Twitter.

Or, instead of unlocking a badge when someone checks in, a special tip could be unlocked.

On an even more simple level, if you have a special guest due to visit a venue, leave them a special ‘welcome message’ in the tips section – can’t hurt, can it?

The main argument with foursquare at present is that it is only being used by a very certain demographic – brands might want to see this as an opportunity and encourage customers to join foursquare by offering them the opportunity to unlock special incentives / offers.

For this to take off, brands have to show more leadership…and the ones that do will most likely reap the benefits…before their competitors.

Over to you.

Have you got any ideas about how to use foursquare ‘tips’ to create value for brands and customers alike?

Do you think that the more involve brands get the more involved consumers will get?

Check in…err, I mean, leave your thoughts in the comments box below.

Adam

4 Comments

  • Reply July 7, 2010

    timhall

    Hey Adam… here I am "checking in" you know? Because after all, leaving a comment was the original blog "check in!"

    I like the list. Not sure if this falls under a couple of the points above, but I recommend Foursquare Tips to businesses simply because of their "pay it forward" type of feel! Here's an example:

    I was recently traveling

  • Reply July 7, 2010

    timhall

    Hey Adam… here I am "checking in" you know? Because after all, leaving a comment was the original blog "check in!"

    I like the list. Not sure if this falls under a couple of the points above, but I recommend Foursquare Tips to businesses simply because of their "pay it forward" type of feel! Here's an example:

    I was recently traveling

  • Reply August 5, 2010

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    I have visted many blogs but did not satisfy with content creation and information. but i have impressed yor presentation and find all the relevant information thanks yor support.

  • Reply September 25, 2010

    Penny

    A good article but some parts need greater explanation or detail e.g. "Or, instead of unlocking a badge when someone checks in, a special tip could be unlocked." – what does "unlocking a badge mean?

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