If the White House is on Foursquare – Should You Be Too?

by Affect Team on August 16, 2011

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While mayor-ship of the Affect offices is certainly quite hotly contested, I can only imagine the competition that will now ensue to become Mayor of The White House. You heard it right – the White House today announced they’ve joined Foursquare, letting you keep track of where the President last “checked-in”, and allowing users to battle for the coveted Mayor title at various White House events.

The White House’s move to join Foursquare is an interesting one, and businesses interested in expanding both their reach and interactions with target audiences should pay attention. Here are the reasons why the White House will be using Foursquare to enhance their brand – and why their uses might not be so different from your own:

  • Builds buzz leading up to the 2012 Election
    Replace “2012 Election” with your latest marketing campaign – making a Foursquare account part of an overall strategic social media plan can be a unique way to gain attention and excitement for your campaign.

  • Gives the White House another channel in which to interact with their target audience: voters
    While your target audience may not need to register to vote to get in on the action, they’re just as important and want your time and attention. Creating a Foursquare account provides customers with another way to engage with you, creating a deeper interaction with your brand.
  • Encourages loyalty amongst key constituents by giving them “bragging rights” for attending Town Hall and campaign events
    One of the features the White House has enabled is the ability to “check in” to scheduled events. In basic terms, they’ve created a loyalty program where the top tier of their target audience can check-in to become Mayor, encouraging them to attend additional events. Companies can do the same type of thing at major events or tradeshows – giving frequent customers or press “bragging rights.”
  • Creates another way for the White House to provide constituents with information
    The White House has also created a Tips feed, so you can get first-hand information on locations the President has visited. Companies can start the conversation on Foursquare by adding their own tips. For example, a company  could add helpful tips and information near a major event location (i.e. the Superbowl, locations near their Headquarters or at a high-traffic tradeshow.)

Is your business using Foursquare just like the White House? What are you doing differently? Let me know in the comments!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Davina K. Brewer 08.19.11 at 10:10 am

I’m not a FS user but it’s interesting to see it used for politics and your example show how marketing and PR rules can still apply. One thing I’ve read about this in terms of ‘gamification’ is that it’s like pouring chocolate on your broccoli to get you eat your vegetables; so maybe this is another way of turning something that some voters would consider tedious or a chore into something ‘fun’ or a game. FWIW.

Kate Ryan 08.22.11 at 12:41 pm

Davina: I completely agree. Especially with the Obama campaign targeting a younger, more tech-savvy audience of voters, FourSquare allows them to interact and engage with them just as you would within a marketing strategy. Thanks for the comment!

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