How to Create a Story with Foursquare
Very often we hear about the power of story. A story is a narrative that describes someone's experiences. Very often, I hear about how stories sell and how great businesses tell stories. Well, what if your consumers, guests, or visitors, were able to tell that story for you? What if instead of one central hub (the business) telling stories, you had hundreds or thousands of raving fans spreading your story?
Story is what sparks word-of-mouth. It works because stories are personal. They're something we can relate to and they're something we can talk about. Think about the Volkswagen Commercial during the Super Bowl. I asked several friends and read online that this commercial received positive sentiment to millions. And it continues to capture the attention of over 35 million people on YouTube. If you haven't seen it, I encourage you to.
Volkswagen did it right. They created a story with a child and appealed to our emotions. They won.
So how does this relate to Foursquare?
In the Volkswagen example, the business is telling the story. How about planting a story with your audience and having them share it for you?
If Twitter lets you share a status, Foursquare lets you share your location. When you check-in at places, you earn points and badges. The person that checks in the most in a two month period becomes the Mayor. Your friends on Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter can also see when you check-in (depending on how it is set up). Although Foursquare was initially based on game mechanics, real world benefits are starting to sprout up and change the game.
Chilis gives you free chips and salsa when you check in at their locations on Foursquare. They give you an incentive. They create a unique experience: show your server your phone and get something for free.
Yard House in Costa Mesa tweeted back at me after I checked in on Foursquare. They were listening and they engaged back with me. They exceeded my expectation and enhanced my experience.
AJ Bombers packed their doors when they attempted to get everyone a Swarm badge (when 50 people check in in a certain time period). HubSpot wrote about it and said sales grew 110%. Steffan Antonas wrote about it (which 600 people reshared on Twitter). Jim Raffel also recorded live video at the event. Joe Sorge didn't let his creativity stop there. He put together people to get the "I'm On A Boat" badge and hit a sales record. Thanks to Joe's creativity, a unique experience was created. It was worth sharing and participating in.
I had my own little experience with Coffee Klatch. Watch the video below to learn more:
Foursquare expert, Ryan Taft, over at Catalyst Marketers, reshared this video (he has a great free eBook on Foursquare I'd recommend). Daniela over at SocialSkoop, a social media marketing company, also reshared the video. Debbie over at Social Hospitality, a blog for social media in the hospitality industry, also reshared the video.
The video also has received over 200 views in the past 7 days.
It has been reshared on Facebook.
It has increased brand perception.
This all happened because of an experience. At the core of all of this is creativity and being intentional about taking advantage of some of the new technologies that smartphones have brought forth.
If there is any doubt about what is propelling the smartphone revolution, read this blog post.
5 Things You Can Be Doing On Foursquare Right Now
1. Offer some type of special. This provides people an incentive to check-in, which could get broadcasted to their network of friends.
2. Offer Mayor perks. The Foursquare Mayor is one of your most loyal customers. Treat them like one. This could include a discount on every purchase, free coffee, or even a special menu for that Mayor. Yes, AJ Bombers did that one too.
3. Listen and engage on Twitter. When someone checks in to your business, they might tweet it out. Listen on Twitter by setting up a search with this (example for Coffee Klatch): "Coffee Klatch" 4sq. Here's what it looks like on Twitter. You can also subscribe to the RSS feed ("Feed for this query", top right) and get updates in Google Reader. Engage and exceed expectations.
4. Know what's happening at your venue. Be sure and check your venue page on Foursquare weekly to know what's happening (eg. Coffee Klatch's venue page). You'll be able to learn what people want to do at your business and what kind of tips (positive or negative) they're leaving. You might also be able to recognize and reaffirm the people checking in. When someone checks in and you say something about it, it shows you listen. That is meaningful.
5. Get creative. Google AJ Bombers and read what they're doing. They got creative and have seen thousands of people reshare their story. That's because they had one worth sharing. They created a unique experience that went beyond the norm. They did something remarkable. Can you get enough people at your business to get the Swarm badge?
If you want to utilize Foursquare more, read Ryan's free eBook. You can also educate yourself on what QR codes are and different uses for them. If you're a restaurant, we wrote a specific post for QR code uses for you. QR codes are another way to create a unique experience.
What Foursquare stories did we miss? Do you have any unique experiences you'd like to share?