It's time to check-in with this whole Foursquare thing. Now, I understand that it's hard enough to keep up with social media from Facebook's changes to Google throwing it's hat into the social ring, but Foursquare is unique for rec departments.If you have physical locations like gyms, parks, rec centers, pools, fitness centers, and athletic fields (sound familiar?), Foursquare allows you to entice and connect with customers as they physically visit your facilities. Let's jump into it:What is Foursquare?Foursquare is a location-based social network that allows users to "check-in" to establishments through a mobile application. Users can check-in with GPS tracking, view friends' locations, earn badges, and receive deals from participating establishments.That's where recreation departments come in - at participating establishments. By signing up your various facilities with Foursquare, you'll be able to offer specials and deals, connect with customers, manage a profile with information, and view statistics about check-ins and more.OK, well give me some stats...
- Around 15 million worldwide users
- Over 1.5 billion check-ins (with millions more per day)
- Over 600,000 use the merchant platform (Foursquare)
- More than 91.4 million smartphone users are from the United States (go-gulf.com)
With smart phone adoption increasing as well as social networking, Foursquare is positioned to stay as a check-in tool for many years to come.
Fine. Do you have an example?
According to digitalcommunities.com, Minneapolis joined Foursquare last week and is one of the first big cities in the country to sign on. Minneapolis sees it as a way to connect with people on the go - something that Twitter and Facebook cannot provide as effectively as Foursquare. Minneapolis will post tips at different locations for Foursquare users to view. Those tips will tie directly to what they are doing as well as match with city initiatives. Here is an excerpt from the article:“Besides giving the city another platform to reach out to its residents, Foursquare also gives the city a better idea or better measure of what people are using and talking about,” Marino said. “For example, [if] people are checking in a lot at a park, then the city has a great way of knowing or gauging what is getting popular and can target development plans around that knowledge.”Click here to view the full article.I get it. How do I get started?First, head over to Foursquare and claim your locations. Here's a tip: start with your most popular/biggest facility.Next, put together a plan to market your Foursquare account. You'll want some posters on location as well as some integration with your website and other social networks.
After that, set up a special! Basically, you'll offer a percentage discount or a giveaway for checking in to that facility. You can create loyalty deals as well as one-time deals. This encourages people to visit your facilities and make purchases.
Finally, check the stats. Through the Foursquare dashboard, you can view daily check-ins, your most recent visitors, gender breakdowns, check-in time of day, and more. This will help you gain insight into who, how, and when people use your facilities. Experiment with new specials and campaigns!
Are you already using Foursquare for your recreation department? Share your results!