We all are aware of the logistics and legalities that would have to first be vetted with a social tool like Foursquare in the educational marketing space, but it never hurts to brainstorm. Last year Mashable reported on five social media trends to watch right now and location-based services, because of their ties with mobile phones, were tops on the list.
Now, we see that Foursquare has proven its staying power, even defeating Facebook’s effort: Places. While Foursquare has always been a nice, natural fit for retailers and businesses to use it to reward their loyal customers, it hasn’t been talked about much in the education circles.
Maybe it is not logistical at the moment for schools, but it could be, and here are 10 ways it could be used:
#1-Motivate Sports Fans. The first 100 or 300 or 500 to check-in will receive a free t-shirt or other freebie. They simply check-in upon arrival and show your people at the door. This may not seem like much, but imagine all of their check-ins being broadcast across Twitter and Facebook and spreading the excitement of your event and your venue to their circle of friends.
#2-Reward Alumni. Use it to reward alumni at a reunion event you are hosting either on your campus or off-campus. If it is off-campus, work with the venue to provide a special discount of some item or drink or a free appetizer. If it is at your site, reward them by entering them in a drawing for a prize.
#3-Long-Term Prospective Student Contest. Drive prospective students to visit a program/school within your school or college. Once the prospect checks-in and it is verified, enter them in a drawing for a major prize (or better yet a scholarship) to be given away at the end of the recruitment season. While “bribery” may be behind getting them to come visit, ultimately it is always their experience in meeting the instructor, visiting the classrooms and seeing the daily life of the school that gets them to enroll.
#4- Reward Staff. If staff members are checking in, their check-ins are being broadcast on their other social media channels, which is then being broadcast to other people who see your school’s name in their Twitter feed or news feed consistently. Why not get that free and simple location awareness and name awareness constantly via check-ins. Create a badge program internally with rewards attached to each badge.
#5- Collaborate With A High School or College. Depending on the level of educational marketing in which you work, reward students for taking college visits and checking in during them. If you are a high school marketer, you can work with several colleges to develop a rewards program that encourages juniors and seniors to visit their campuses and take part in an experience to advance them on to the next level. Students can be entered to win anything from scholarship money to something simple like a gift bag with college apparel. If you are in higher education, create partnerships with area high schools to promote checking in with Foursquare for a special prize.
Next week, I will give five more ways I think education institutions can utilize Foursquare for marketing and outreach. What ideas do you have?