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The Power of foursquare
7 INNOVATIVE WAYS TO GET YOUR CUSTOMERS TO CHECK IN WHEREVER THEY ARE
By Carmine Gallo
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.Copyright © 2012Carmine Gallo
All rights reserved.
Connect Your Brand
"We are constantly surprised by what our partners are doing and how users are extending the platform in ways that we never expected."
—NAVEEN SELVADURAI, Cofounder, foursquare
New Yorkers who are in a hurry for lunch know better than to drop by the Shake Shack at Madison Square Park in Chelsea. Yes, the burger joint offers some of the best hot dogs, fries, custards, and high-grade Black Angus beef burgers in the city, but people have to wait—and wait—for it. Between the hours of 12:00 noon and 2:00 P.M., a hungry customer can easily be kept waiting for 35 minutes or longer. In the summer the line can stretch to an hour.
How should customers spend this time? Sure, they can check their e-mail, make a call, or strike up a conversation with the person next to them. Here's another idea: when standing in the Shake Shack line at Madison Green, look up to see a number of life-size cast-iron sculptures of artist Anthony Gormley's body standing on buildings that surround the park. I don't live in New York, nor have I ever visited the neighborhood before, so how did I learn about this piece of trivia when I ate at the Shake Shack for the first time? The Corcoran Group told me—on foursquare.
The Corcoran Group is the largest residential real estate firm in New York City. The company was founded in 1973 as New York City was beginning a historic transition from being predominantly a rental market to one of individual ownership. Today Corcoran's 2,000 agents generate more than $18 billion in sales annually. The Corcoran Group embraces the spirit of innovation, and social media is just the latest tool in its arsenal.
Corcoran doesn't wait for others to lead the way, especially when it comes to social networking tools that allow its realtors to form deeper and longer-lasting relationships with prospects and clients. As early as 1995, The Corcoran Group launched one of the first real estate websites, www.corcoran.com. Today it attracts more than four million visitors per month and produces more sales than any other website in residential real estate.
In December 2009, Corcoran introduced an iPhone app. Instead of looking through the Sunday newspaper for listings, a young couple having brunch in the East Village can simply open the app to see properties for rent or for sale in the area. It also provides more details about the listing. Corcoran thinks of it as a wonderful open-house tool. But when foursquare entered the picture, it changed everything. Corcoran had always been in the "location" business; now it had the opportunity of putting the full range of its unique expertise right into the hands of its customers, wherever they happen to be in the city.
A Powerful Marketing Proposition
Corcoran is a company rooted in the location business. Its agents pride themselves on sharing localized knowledge of the city's neighborhoods. "The core mission of the Corcoran brand is to communicate what it's like to live in an area. It goes beyond the four walls of an apartment to include what's nearby. This is where foursquare becomes a great marketing fit," says Corcoran director of interactive product and marketing Matthew Shadbolt. "It's an extension of what we do offline. It allows us to share local tips specific to venues that are directly around a client wherever they are in the city. For example, we can tell you what to order at a particular restaurant, how to get into a club, or where to sit on the subway. We put Corcoran expertise in your hands as you explore the city. That's a very powerful marketing proposition."
Here's how it works. Open the foursquare app anywhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Hamptons, or Palm Beach, Florida, and it's nearly impossible to avoid Corcoran's tips—inside information and recommendations about local venues. These tips are available for any foursquare user to see. If you "follow" Corcoran on foursquare—as more than 10,000 people have chosen to do—its tips get automatically pushed to your phone when you check in to a location where Corcoran has left a recommendation or suggestion. It's like getting a recommendation from a trusted friend. Corcoran has created more than 1,500 tips for venues in most every neighborhood in its territory:
* Apple Store (401 W. 14th): You can't leave Chelsea without a stop off at the Apple store at 14th Street and 9th Avenue, a beautiful three-story loft building with a sexy glass curtain covering it.
* Manhattan Mall (100 W. 33rd): Use the mall to cut through between Penn Station and the 34th Street subway stations when it's raining.
* Denino's Pizzeria Tavern (524 Port Richmond Ave., Staten Island): Old-school joint serving some of the best pizza in all five boroughs. Start with an order of wings or fried calamari, and then move onto the Garbage Pie.
Since Shadbolt and his interactive product and marketing team are the ones populating the Corcoran foursquare site with tips, they can add tips every week as they visit new restaurants, bars, stores, or other neighborhood venues. Foursquare isn't static for Corcoran. It's not an app that they create once and let go. It's a constantly evolving program to meet the needs of Corcoran's clients.
Foursquare allows anyone to leave tips for a particular venue, and those tips are displayed on a user's page in two categories: recent and popular. This free data gives Shadbolt the kind of information he can use to refine Corcoran's tips. For example, Shadbolt has noticed that the most popular tips are accessed in venues where people are expected to wait in lines: train stations, popular restaurants, movie theaters, and yes, the Shake Shack. Based on this insight, Shadbolt adds more tips to these types of venues. Here are some of the more popular Corcoran tips you'll find as you explore New York City:
* Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleeker Street): Legendary cupcakes. Absolutely get the Red Velvets! Well worth standing in line for this New York classic.
* Eataly (5th and 23rd): Go right when they open, to avoid the crowds and get the best selection. Otherwise, you'll be forced to wait in line outside.
* Good Enough to Eat (483 Amsterdam): The biscuits and strawberry butter make this place the best brunch on the Upper West Side.
* 21 Club (21 W. 53rd): The key to power lunching is landing the right table. The left section of the dining room is preferred, and the right, known as "Siberia" to its regulars, is by no means coveted.
* The Lincoln Center Fountain (Columbus Avenue and 64th): The fountain cycles through a water show every hour, but beware if you're sitting on the marble edges as the water shoots up very fast and you can (and will) get wet!
Align foursquare with Your Core Mission
The Corcoran Group is not interested in offering badges, specials, or other deals (more on these later). They are not interested in rewarding mayors. They are not interested in giving foursquare users a 10 percent discount for checking in to an apartment (although 10 percent off a million-dollar NYC apartment would be very cool). Deals, specials, and rewards are not aligned with Corcoran's core mission. The Corcoran Group is in the business of selling homes by offering enhanced client services: services that set it apart from other real estate firms. Localized knowledge is at the center of that experience.
"One of the main reasons we're on foursquare is because it's a personalized and powerful form of marketing. A banner ad on the desktop might generate a visitor who stays on our site
Excerpted from The Power of foursquare by Carmine Gallo. Copyright © 2012 by Carmine Gallo. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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