Should My CVB Sign Up for a Foursquare Account?

Hey, let’s make this the shortest blog post ever: YES!

Wait, you want more than that?  Oh, alright.

In addition to claiming your location by identifying yourself as the manager, your CVB should also create an account.  This is not to say you should have your biggest partier take over the account and actively tweet out their random check-ins using the CVB Twitter account.  That would be bad and not just because I would hate to see what that person would check into and tweet out at 3 am on a Saturday morning.

AFTER you have had some experience using the service via a personal account, you should create the CVB account.  The next thing you should do?  Make sure all of your members are listed on it.  If they are not, list them.  Not only will that get you rad mega points that will put you ahead of everyone on the leaderboard, but it will also be good for those member locations to be listed everywhere you can list them.

Then, you need to spend some time talking to your members about the service.  Educate them about it and let them know that you are experimenting with it to see how it will benefit both you as a CVB and them.  Show them how they can claim their location and the business tools that they can use to enhance their experience.  From there, you need to discuss with them what makes their business unique, although you probably should already know this.

Your next step?  Start leaving tips like a two dollar hooker.  Make sure you have a tip on every member location.  What should these tips be?  Well, definitely not something like, “You should eat here.  It’s good.”  It should be something like, “Don’t even think about it.  Just order the poblano soup.  You can thank us later,” or “Did you know that they have half-priced pizza on Tuesdays?  Our favorite is the veggie.”  In other words, use that little tid bit that you discussed with your member locations that make them unique and will provide some kind of “insider information” to a potential visitor.

Wow, that was a lot of work.  Oh, but crap, there’s more.  The infamous check-ins.  Once again, DO NOT randomly check-in to places and tweet them out.  Have a cohesive plan for the check-ins.  For example, check-in to the major events you have and tweet them out to explain what is going on.  That is a very good use of Foursquare.  Unlike an individual who can feel free to check-in wherever, every check-in needs to mean something for your CVB.  Random check-ins add no value and are therefore, not worth your time.

This is just the basics.  There are a lot more things you can do via Foursquare, but if you do everything above, you will be in very good shape and anything else will be cake.  Now who is actually doing this?

9 Responses to “Should My CVB Sign Up for a Foursquare Account?”

  1. Anne Hornyak Says:

    You make it sound so easy! Great post!

  2. badflags Says:

    I think you lay out a very nice strategy for getting involved in Foursquare. And I realize that Foursquare is growing in users every day, but what do you say to skeptics (like me) who think that the nature of the platform will keep it to a relatively homogenous niche of consumers?

    I can see if you’re a destination that’s popular with young, urban-oriented, tech-savvy and social upper middle class folks – but I have to think Foursquare isn’t for every CVB. Sure, it’s a zero dollar investment, but there’s a pretty big investment of time upfront, and then a fairly significant chunk of time on an ongoing basis.

    Or maybe I’m a little biased personally – I love Facebook and Twitter, but I’m way too much of a recluse to want people I vaguely know to know where I am all the time.

    • decillis Says:

      You definitely bring up some valid points. And I definitely think Foursquare is not for every CVB just as much as I think Twitter and Facebook are not for every CVB. If you don’t want to put in the time and the effort that goes into a social space, then don’t try to fake your way through it.

      As to your point about the niche consumer, do you think that is a niche consumer to go after? That consumer tends to have a large disposable income and will then be more likely to do things like overnight trips. To boot, a Foursquare user tends to be more conscious of the places that they are going to because they want to up their cool points. (Not me. I’m set in my lame ways.) So you are looking at a person that is more likely to not go to chain restaurants when they vacation and is more likely to seek out those lesser known places.

      Then let’s go to what happens with these check-ins. Some people (annoyingly) tweet or Facebook every single check-in. I will admit this becomes noise that I tend not to listen to. But the people that tweet and Facebook those interesting check-ins with a little information as to why they’re there? I listen to those. And sometimes I make a mental note of the cooler places that I see my friends go to, so that I can go there too. So basically this is free and persuasive advertising that is going out to people that tend to have larger disposable incomes. Um, sign me up please!

      As to the recluse part, as a personal user I am very selective about people I select as friends on Foursquare. This means that the people I am friends with on there tend to people that I would like to meet up with in real life. I heard a great story about a friend that checked into O’Hare while he was still on the plane. Turns out that a friend of his that he hadn’t seen in a long time saw that check-in, happened to also be at O’Hare and called him on his cell. They ended up being able to strengthen a relationship just because of a silly check-in. Pretty darn cool.

      P.S. This comment may be longer than the post. 😉

  3. kellydeanottawa Says:

    Is there a way on Foursqare of downloading all a CVB’s members, or do we have add each one manually?

    • decillis Says:

      As far as I know, you have to do each one manually. You might want to shout out to Tristan Walker (@tristanwalker) to see if there’s another way.

  4. kellydeanottawa Says:

    Thanks … really hoping for a short cut!!!

  5. kellydeanottawa Says:

    When a CVB opens a Foursquare account, do we get to add more tips than a personal user. Just started adding some of my members to my person account, and realized that I could only add 10.

    • decillis Says:

      If you have questions about the specific abilities of Foursquare, you might want to go to their support forum. They are very responsive and if you have an idea, they usually are willing to try to adopt it.

  6. #tourismchat Highlights: Mobile Apps « Tourism Land Says:

    […] If you’re interested in learning more about Foursquare, read my post about #geekcation, VisitPA on Foursquare and tips or check out the funny and enlightening Betsy Decillis and her Foursquare post. […]

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