Location is hot lately. Especially when it comes to location-based social networking sites like Foursquare, Gowalla and Brightkite. (Here’s a comparison between two of the more popular services, Foursquare and Gowalla.) A few #AptChat-ters have started testing marketing ideas using these services, and a number of others had expressed interest in the topic, so we wanted to ‘check in’ on the category and see what apartment pros are doing. Shall we?

What the heck IS Foursquare anyway?

  • Resite Online: Social networking site that is location based
  • Joe Foster: FourSquare is a way of telling your friends what you’re up to.
  • Heather Blume: If used properly, can not only up traffic generation but also give you a list of outreach marketing partners. = AWESOMENESS.
  • Heather Blume: It’s user driven. Your business might already be on there. Have you checked?
  • Meredith Mobley: Foursquare also lets people know where you are.
  • Eric Brown: Foursquare also increases your Brand Awareness on Twitter.

How do you add your property? What if it’s already on there and it’s been added wrong?

  • David Kotowski: It’s really easy to add businesses. More tricky to edit unless you’re a Superuser, but they’re usually on it.
  • Eric Brown: We have entered all of our communities into Foursquare data base for correct addressing and information.
  • David Kotowski: While we’re talking about adding businesses, you can also claim yours by clicking the “Are you the manager of this business?” link.
  • Mike Whaling: Start here if your business isn’t yet listed on Foursquare: http://foursquare.com/add_venue.
  • David Kotowski: Claiming your business is free. There is a verification process than can sometimes take time. Once done you can add specials.
  • Elysa Rice: Once you’be been active enough on 4sq you can edit venues from the website.
  • David Kotowski: You can claim apartment communities and add specials. Some can be for the “mayor.” Some can be for x # of check-ins.
  • Elysa Rice: if you’re wanting to claim/add specials/etc save this link: http://foursquare.com/businesses/
  • David Kotowski: Technically you can add ANY place in the world. However, I recommend to just add community. Add your amenities as tips.

My property is on there and a resident added a negative tip. What do I do?

  • Heather Blume: Respond like you would on any other ratings site. Don’t get pissy, don’t ask for it to be removed, etc.
  • Christian Flickinger: Leave it. the truth is the truth. respond if you can, and fix their issue/THE ISSUE for future residents.
  • David Kotowski: One of the cool things about Foursquare is you can “ignore” certain tips. Enough ignores and it gets removed.

Why should I be on Foursquare?

  • Heather Blume: Rep monitoring, Gen Y engagement and Outreach marketing partnership generation – also, b/c its fun.
  • David Kotowski: LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION! You can see where your residents are checking in. Those are great places for marketing.
  • Jennifer Kennedy: Because its fun and you get to see tips from other people on local venues to discover what is around.
  • Elysa Rice: I disagree that’s it’s Gen Y only. @Lee_Ellipse, our President is very active on 4sq.
  • David Kotowski: Personally, I think you should be on #4sq because it’s fun. Professional, it’s good to be there b/c your customers are.
  • Kim Cory: With students they love photos, but don’t have a clue what Foursquare is. No use 4 me.
  • Tamela Coval: Take contextual cues from the swarms and check-in actions & know your consumer. Use location-based info for specific target markets.

Who is using Foursquare, and what results have you seen?

(Submitted by Eric Brown)

  • Megan Orser: We are offering it to prospective residents a $5 gas card to earn the Mayor badge.
  • David Kotowski: At one of my props I’m giving $50 off June’s rent to the Mayor. Being Mayor is a big deal.
  • David Kotowski: Try encouraging prospects to check-in by offering $5 gas cards just for showing you that they did.
  • Eric Brown: Local Business wants to, and will partner with you for Foursquare Events.
  • Elysa Rice: I had a friend who organized a local biz badge crawl just for fun. No reason a community couldn’t do that.

How can you encourage residents/prospects/guests to check in at your community?

  • Eric Brown: An iPad drawing.
  • David Kotowski: I’ve started leaving postcards in apartments w/ completed svc requests. Has res referral info, #4sq logo, & FB info.
  • Joe Foster: @stevelefko mentioned premiums for prospect check-ins ie “free cookie for foursquare checkins” as walk-in incentive.
  • Elysa Rice: 4sq will send your business “the official foursquare window clings” per http://foursquare.com/businesses
  • Elysa Rice: Tami mentioned at #optsum to put window sign that says “check in on 4sq to waive deposit today.”

Is there room enough for two localization networks, or is Gowalla destined for the dumpheap?

(Submitted by Brent Williams)

  • David Kotowski: I think there’s room for several. @loopt and @brightkite are still around. @foursquare is king, though.
  • Heather Blume: That one is going to depend on your region of the US, but still, i think 4S is king.
  • Elysa Rice: I don’t think it’s about “room” it’s abt going where your ppl are. If they are on gowalla, whrrl, loopt, etc then u listen.
  • Joe Foster: I think one platform is going to need to establish dominance for this entire culture to mainstream at all.

We want to send out a huge THANK YOU to this week’s guest moderator, David Kotowski of Pegasus Residential. David is a passionate Foursquare user, and he went above and beyond to provide us with some great information about getting your business started on the site. Thanks again for your help, David!

More resources:

Remember, there’s no #AptChat this week. Enjoy a long Memorial Day weekend, and get ready for a great chat on June 4th, when we’ll be joined by Eric Brown, who will share the social media secrets of Urbane Apartments!