Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sending updates via FourSquare claimed library venues - location based alerts

It's finally here.

FourSquare launches Local Updates from businesses .

"Foursquare Local Updates let merchants send text, photos, and specials to customers who have either checked into a business several times or liked it on Foursquare" (more)

Here's how it looks like.


From my institution's Foursquare business page

As we have claimed 6 NUS library venues, we can now send updates to "loyal customers" , and such updates will appear in their friend tabs which typically tell them what their friends are doing and where they are.

It's unclear what "Customers will see your updates when they're close to your locations" means above, but this says

"Starting today, you’ll start seeing updates in your friends tab from the places where you’re a loyal customer. It’s an easy way to keep up with news from places you frequent, including things like new specials, pictures of the latest shipment of shoes, or a serendipitous food truck appearance. The best part is there’s no extra work for you to do: we already know you care about a place if you’ve checked in often or liked it, and will show you updates from it when you’re in the same city." (empathisis mine)

So close to your locations = same city?

If so, effectively this turns your claimed FourSquare site into a Facebook page (for loyal customers within the city which is effectively the whole country for me).

We have being doing active foursquare specials campaigns for our library as seen in our IATUL2012 presentation Check-ins... Not Just for Books! - NUS Libraries' Experience with Foursquare , and this seems to have paid off as seen above we have 1,731 customers we can send updates to!

We have more Facebook fans but still a nice bonus.

In addition, updates you send will also appear after people check-in to your claimed venues.

I feel the ability to show updates after the user checks-in is perhaps even more effective, since you can push user news when they are already in the library, maximizing the relevancy of the news you are sending. 

With the new term starting soon, you can imagine all sorts of possibilities opening up for marketing...
For example let's say you have longer or shorter opening hours than normal today? Post the update on your FourSquare venue and when they check-in they will automatically be reminded! 

Plenty of other possibilities including events happening later in the day but a major use is to advertise FourSquare specials etc.
Tips & Thoughts

I haven't tested this much yet, but it seems the image or text needs to do the bulk of the work, since the URL posted isn't currently hotlinked.

Also FourSquare doesn't keep track if you have seen the update before, so if you check-in once, see the update, and check-in again say the next day, it will still show you the same update unless presumably a more recent update was posted. Not a big deal though since it isn't that intrusive.

It would be nice if FourSquare used the FourSquare radar or geofencing to automatically send notifications when within range. Something like how location alerts work for the build in reminder app on iPhone. But this might be considered too intrusive.

A even more interesting idea but probably requiring a specialised app would be a library app that would be aware of the loan periods of your books and notify you whenever the due period is close and you are within range of a library or book-drop!

PS : For more details see the FAQ on local updates , in particularly see Who gets my Local Updates? and Where do people see my Local Updates?

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