4 Don’ts for Foursquare

So, your destination, hotel or restaurant is ready to experiment with Foursquare, Gowalla or Facebook Places?

Easy, right?  Create a profile and start dropping your check-in knowledge anywhere and everywhere.

Heck, it is probably just like Twitter.

Well, Joe Foursquare, before you start stalking your fellow mayors, repeatedly visiting that Starbucks down the street and pushing your brand across the virtual neighborhood, here are 4 don’ts for every tourism brand starting a LBS / Geosocial strategy.

4 Don’ts for Foursquare (or Gowalla, Facebook Places, Google Latitude, etc.)

(No, never heard of Google Latitude?  You have now.)

4 Don'ts for Foursquare

1. Auto-post every check-in.
Yes, you can connect Foursquare and Gowalla to your Twitter and Facebook accounts, but do us all a favor, don’t.  If we wanted to follow you on Foursquare, we would.  We don’t because we are on Twitter, not Foursquare.

Additionally, if you are an individual representing a brand, we really don’t need to know about all of your irrelevant check-ins.

Marketing Director for the local Hilton?  Great, tell us about the relevant locations you visit because of that job…new restaurants, hidden wifi spots for your guests, etc.  That daily, early morning visit to the local Starbucks is not helpful.

We get it, you like coffee.

4 Don'ts for Foursquare2. Check-in at your own hotel, restaurant, visitor center, etc.
A particularly critical ‘don’t’ for the tourism industry.  A primary point of a geosocial network (especially from the gaming perspective) is to allow guests, visitors and tourists the opportunity to check-in and potentially claim a mayorship for your location.

Now, how easy is that going to be if Rob from accounting checks into the hotel everyday because he is ‘workin hard for the money’?

Pretty sure Rob is going to claim the mayorship quite quickly.

If you are an attraction, hotel or restaurant, ask (or tell) your staff to avoid checking-in at your business location.

Trust us, it will make it much more enjoyable for your visitors.

4 Don'ts for Foursquare3. Require a printed coupon.
Okay, that one is obvious!

You would think so, right?  Apparently not for everyone, for example Office Depot.

But this tip is about more than just a printed coupon.  If you are offering a discount via Facebook Places, ensure that your staff…especially front line employees…are aware of the promotion.

Nothing will reduce the likelihood of a repeat visitor, let along a repeat check-in, than difficultly using a discount code or coupon.

4 Don'ts for Foursquare4. Ignore your customers.
Even if you are not going to offer discounts or coupons via Foursquare, at least take the time to determine who is visiting your location and checking-in.

Market research aside, a geosocial network presents a customer service opportunity and responsibility for your business.  Plus, you can determine who your most loyal customers are.

And let’s do the math on this one.

We know that the average mobile app consumer is an affluent consumer.  We know that this is a consumer who has gone out of their way to download and use an application such as Gowalla.  We know that this is a repeat customer.  And we know that they are telling their friends, via the magic of social networking, that they like your business.

Now, add that up and tell me again why are not at least monitoring your geosocial profile.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.