Using Foursquare to Engage Your Church Guests

I’ve been working on K2’s social media push now for a little while. While I have a few plates spinning, I took some time last week to look at Foursquare. Here was the state of affairs:

– People had created a couple K2 venues on 4sq.
– We have an average of about 50-60 people checking into those venues in a week on 4sq.

I wanted to see how we could better connect with those people that were using Foursquare, and leverage it to our benefit. Here’s what I did:

Claimed and combined our venues:
Foursquare allows venues to manage themselves. That is, if I were the manager or owner of a location, I can claim it and manage it. I set up a new account in K2’s name, and filled out a form that said, “Hey, we are K2!”. After a confirmation process that included a phone call, we were officially in charge of our venue. Why did that matter – what did it do for us?

It allows me to monitor our checkins, and reach out and connect with those who are checking into our venue. One of the ways I’m doing that is through Foursquare’s specials.

Foursquare allows businesses to set up “specials”, that can be based on a whole host of different criteria. For instance, one special could be for people that have checked in for the first time. Or the 50th. Doesn’t matter – we pick.

Many businesses use these as incentive to check-in (a free coffee every 5th checkin, for instance). Most foursquare users post their checkin to Facebook and Twitter, thus giving us free advertising. Since we’re a church, I’m not selling hamburgers. So we set up a couple of specials.

The first is for a person that checks in for the first time. It thanks them for being here, gives them directions to our connections teams and also lets them know if they have an immediate need, they can tweet K2 for an instant response. It’s just another way of being hospitable.

Our second special pops up after the third check-in, and simply reiterates the first welcome, and sort of “checks in” to see how everything is going.

Our final special will be a reward from our bookstore for repeated checkins. We haven’t nailed this down, but it’ll either be a free gift or a certain percentage (10%-15% off) discount in the bookstore, after say, the 15th or 20th checkin.

People were already using foursquare to checkin to K2 on Foursquare. We’d be nuts not to engage with them. Secondly, I want to encourage behavior that virally spreads the word about K2. It’s cheap advertising, and builds great rapport with those who are using these social networks. A third benefit to the “specials” system is that when someone checks in to surrounding businesses and locations (say, the transit station next door, or Best Buy), Foursquare alerts them that K2 has a special near them. So we’re reaching people that are just in the area.

Lastly, I love that by doing this we can connect with existing users. Each week, we can leave a personal comment on each checkin. “thanks for checking in today” or “welcome back!”. It adds a personal touch to a digital existence that most businesses aren’t giving them. That builds trust.


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