Foursquare For Business: Going Beyond The Four Walls

The location-based social network has recently celebrated 10 million users and also won the battle against Facebook Places. However, loads of businesses are still trying to understand how to use it to their advantage. I don’t blame them. It’s not very straight forward. It’s a matter of being more creative than with other social networks.

We did a post last year about Foursquare for business networking, but I came across a great video interview with a company that provides feedback on how and why they use this platform.

The Corcoran Group sell multimillion dollar apartments, mainly in New York. Their approach consisted on leaving “tips” for specific locations such as shops, bar, restaurants, etc. Why on earth would a busy, money-making company, be leaving tips on Foursquare?

Matthew Shadbolt, Director of interactive marketing, shares some great insights  (short video at the bottom) but, here are three BIG ones:

  • “The idea of how you find a great apartment, has much more to do with what’s around the building or apartment itself, just as much as what’s in the apartment. We call this: going beyond the four walls”.
  • “We believe it’s helpful to guide people around the city through the lens of the Corcoran group’s expertise”.
  • “Foursquare is a great place for us to share local insights and expertise and transfer what real estate agents have always done but in the mobile space and in a more meaningful and helpful way to our audience”

What I love about this approach is that is focused on helping prospects and customers in line with business objectives, rather than interrupting them with marketing messages. By facilitating the access to deals, they’re presenting themselves as a company that knows the area,¬† improving their positioning in people’s minds.

Thinking beyond four walls

This post is not just about Foursquare. The idea is that you can see more than your own company in the big picture and work in sync with an ecosystem that will make your brand more powerful than if you’re the only one pulling from the rope.

I can hear already Management asking: “So, what’s the return on investment for every tip, tweet, video we post?”. That’s a valid question, but it’s up to you to broaden their views, painting a bigger, more beneficial picture about how can your company be more successful. It will help to first build a strong purpose to back up any plan. In the case of Corcoran Group, they didn’t start with “we aim at X amount of tips that will return X amount of leads”. There’s nothing wrong in measuring that. It’s better to understand first the “why” behind what you’re doing. Example: “We believe it’s helpful to guide people around the city through the lens of the Corcoran’s group expertise”. Find your angle.
Obviously, as Matthew explains in the video, Foursquare is not a stand-alone tactic but rather one piece within their overall strategy.

Tactics don’t last forever. Twelve months from now, the company might no longer see big value in Foursquare and may move on to another platform. If your problem is time, simply don’t juggle with five platforms at the same time. Start small. Focus on small wins that can demonstrate specific results and you’ll gain trust from the board. Hopefully, time and also resources will be allocated to your social media programme gradually.

What social media ideas have you tried beyond the four walls?

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