I’ve been personally intrigued by the development of foursquare over recent months and it’s increasing potential for usage at events and a digital marketing strategy. Back in January, Intel partnered with foursquare during the CES event and offered unique badges for check-ins and special events. This took an effort from both parties to achieve. While it opened the possibilities for the future of foursquare and event marriages, it without little doubt requires the compliance from (and and open wallet) the developers at foursquare to make a campaign of similar correlation possible.
Nevertheless, I was inspired today by an article from Scott Bishop that gives new hope to event planners. There are some reasonable and relatively simple ways to incorporate foursquare and encourage audience participation at your next event.
For current and new users, I recommend setting up a new profile that reflects the name and details of your event.
Next, you’ll want to set up a venue. However, this “venue” is again going to be setup with event details. Be sure to include proper address, contact information and Twitter handle.
Add your event details and assign it a category. You’ll likely want to use the ‘Home/Work/Other‘ category, with the subcategory of ‘Event Space‘. You can also add tags and adjust the map pin to accurately reflect your event’s location.
While you won’t have the ability to create a custom badge unless you are able to partner with the foursquare folks, you can still offer benefits to your attendees for checking in to various locations or functions at your event. Give your mayor a treat. Offer a private gathering for your users. All of these bonuses can be managed as ‘Tips‘ and can be easily setup. Add these periodically throughout your event and give your users a basis for frequent check-ins and updates. Make your missions fun and tie them back to as many of the other meetings and events that surround.
From your venue, click ‘Add Tip’ and simply add the details.
Not only will foursquare users be able to check in and follow the tips surrounding your event, but they now have a community to connect with other users. Furthermore, encourage your event participants to add their own tips. Allow exhibitors to offer their own incentives for a visit to their booth. Give speakers a chance to encourage new audiences.
The Before and After
Much like the Intel example, set up a private landing page weeks in advance of your event and offer a tease towards some of the tips and incentives for their participation. Offer early incentives for ‘friending’ the event profile and develop a community ahead of time to ensure an army of participants during the event.
Once your event concludes, be sure to clean up what you’ve created. While foursquare allows users to add tips and venues freely, removing unnecessary clutter is important to keep these features available to us. Simple delete your tips and ‘Flag your venue as closed‘.
Foursquare and geolocation services are one of the hottest social tools and the development and integration of businesses and events will be exciting to witness. Community and participation will continue to drive face-to-face meetings, so give your next event a shot in the arm for your members.