helping brands make perfect sense of social media, from IAB UK’s social media council

By , Digital & Social Media Director, markettiers4dc Group

Earlier this week I checked into Sa Fàbrica de Gelats on Foursquare to let my friends know that I’ve just bought one of their speciality Orange ice creams whilst in Soller in Mallorca on holiday.

Now, why they would care to know that is another debate!  The reason I did it, however, is because as part of my job, I’m still trying to understand the benefit this latest alleged Social Media star can have to my clients, and at the moment, I’m still struggling to find the answer.

I’ve spent a good six months ‘playing’ on Foursquare, going through the similar patterns as many others – checking in to everything I could, realising that on some occasions, I’m not checking in to the official pages of said venues, taking pleasure at becoming mayor of my company, and even the IAB for a day, and then realising the few friends I had in the game are people doing something similar to me for a living, i.e. those in the industry trying it out too, and I assume, similarly getting bored, by the frequency of their check-ins drying up! 


In fact, the lack of interest from those outside of the industry highlights half the problem.  Back in April, I had the unfortunate pleasure of going to support Spurs in the FA Cup semi final at Wembley and watching them lose to a bankrupt Portsmouth.  I checked in to the Stadium on Foursquare to see how popular it would be from a decent sample of 90,000 people in one location, and there were a total of 7 players checked in, one was me, and 2 others I knew!  The warning signs were there already.

However, as I’ve read with interest the stories about Foursquare looking to raise money, I’ve continue to think there must be a benefit to it to a brand’s marketing.  So it was that I recently tried to claim ownership of a page that had already been set up for my company – misspelt I might add – and set up a page of our own for Studio1 in our office.  In fairness, Foursquare were quick to respond that I now managed the page I set up, but the one already in existence – an unofficial page for my company markettiers4dc – still exists and still has someone unconnected to my company managing it.

With this in mind, I then looked at testing how to monitor and moderate any comments/tips that are added to my page before recommending it to a major client of ours for a campaign we were planning.  After all, given another flaw in the Foursquare game being that one doesn’t even have to be in the venue itself to check-in, any passer-by to my office could add any tip they want about Studio1 – positive or negative.  Now I know the whole point of social media is to allow a freedom of dialogue, but I’m only interested in what actual visitors of ours have to say about their experience in our studio, not any random person who hasn’t even stepped inside our reception.  I therefore contacted Foursquare to ask about how I could moderate my official page.  Here’s the official response:

“Only we can delete tips and will only do so if they are using profanity or for another misuse. You can bring those to our attention at always.”

Are you kidding me?  I have to send comments that I am not happy about on my own page to Foursquare to decide if they should remain on there or not!

Decision made!  Foursquare, you need to seriously consider your strategy if you want my budgets.  Quite timely, therefore, that this week I’ve read more and more stories about Facebook setting itself up as a geolocation challenger .  Oh dear Foursquare, if Facebook really did offer you around $120 million or so to acquire you, why oh why not take the cash and Foursquare off?

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