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by • 13 Jan, 2011 • InspirationComments (4)2779

Using Foursquare to make historical contents locally available (and reach new audiences)

Foursquare header

Ever since I first used Foursquare I’ve been looking for ways to use this platform for our museum. After some unsuccessful attempts, I believe we found a way to use Foursquare that might have potential and some conditions to use the platform well.

Our new website, and especially its integration of Google Maps, made it easy to add stories from our website to relevant places in Foursquare. About a month ago I’ve added 15 stories as tips to Foursquare. And it seems to work! Some of the tips have been done relatively often and between 0.05 and 0.1 % of our website traffic (wow!) now comes from Foursquare.

Here’s what I did (and/or should have done, looking back):

  1. I looked for things on our website (stories, etc.) directly related to a location.
  2. Then I looked for a venue on Foursquare at this location with a lot of check-ins (train stations seem to work best) and preferably not too much tips.
  3. I added a tip with the main body of the information of the story (the length of a tip is limited, so even when you add the core of your message it works like a teaser).
  4. To the tip, I added a URL. The last couple of them I’ve given the extra attribute ?source=4sq to be able to measure them in Google Analytics. (There’s no other way to measure the traffic from Foursquare as far as I know).
  5. I measure success using a special Advanced Segment for Foursquare (using the ?source=4sq).

I believe train stations are especially useful, because people spend time waiting at these places (opposed to for instance in a bar). Our most successful tip I added to a station and the attached story was about that station. The second most successful one deals with the history of brewing beer.

Surprisingly, it’s not only fun facts (such as the beer) that draw traffic. Also the more heavy historical tips draw traffic.

There’s no relation between the number of people who’ve indicated they’ve done a tip on Foursquare, and the number of visits to our website from the platform. I believe only very few people actually click the link for more information (this link is difficult to find). Therefore with new ones I make sure we tell what we want to tell in the tip itself, pointing to the link for more information.

The experiment has been successful enough so far to add more tips to Foursquare. This will provide more statistical information to determine what works and what not. I’m curious to hear about your experiments with Foursquare. Please let me know.

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