Gray's Journal

Monday, July 1, 2013

How Meeting Planners Can Use Foursquare to Promote Meetings

Foursquare, a location-based social network that allows users with smartphones to “check in” at venues, is one of the most up-and-coming social media sites on web. It is perfect for increasing engagement because it combines the fun of social media with incentives and viral messaging.

Users “check in” at venues using a mobile website, text messaging or a device-specific application. They are then awarded points and in some cases, “badges” for certain activities.

If social networking sites connect people to people, then Foursquare should be thought of as connecting people to places making it the perfect social media tool to promote your next meeting:

1. Drive attendance.
Many of the already existing badges for Foursquare can be leveraged for this purpose. Foursquare has two badges that are rewarded based on a crowd of users checking in.

If 50 people check in, a “Swarm Badge” is unlocked, and if 250 people all check in the same venue and time period, a “Super Swarm Badge” is unlocked.

When promoting an event where there is a possibility to get this badge, people will usually promote this to all their peers in the attempt to gain more people to check in to ensure the badge is awarded.

2. Post tips and information in real time.
Foursquare has a “Shout” or “Ping” function that allows you to send a mass message out to friends and users. This tool can be leveraged to make announcements, which can be received  via mobile applications. There is also a function to post tips or instructions on the venue’s Foursquare page.

3. Gather demographic and business data.
As a venue owner or manager, or as the agent promoting that event/venue, you can “claim” the ownership, and then Foursquare allows you to utilize and view the robust back-end analytic package connected with each site.

Here you can find out such things as who is checked in, the frequency they have done so, their Twitter username (if public), whether they are male or female, and any tips or suggestions they have made about the site.

Once the meeting is over, make sure to go back and track your Foursquare page. See who checked in, how many tips were left on the venue page, and how many people took advantage of the check-in promotion. These results will help your social media marketing for the next meeting; what worked and what didn't.

So broaden your horizons from solely Facebook and Twitter. The age of social media is everchanging, and it is your job (as well as many others) as a meeting planner to stay on top of it. It not only increases awareness for your meetings and venues but also allows the attendees to market your event for you.

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