You just became the Mayor of…
If you don’t know what Foursquare is, here’s a brief run down. An app run from your phone, Foursquare allows you to “check-in” to locations in your city (and others if you’re traveling). A “check-in” is like making a public announcement as to your whereabouts. Hey everyone, I’m at Starbucks. Hi friends, you can find me at the Applebee’s on Highway 123. Seems kind of silly if you look at it without any more info. It’s a game. While traveling through your city, you’re checking in, becoming “mayor” (after so many visits, you become Mayor until someone usurps you), and earning badges. Badges are Foursquare’s way of rewarding you for certain milestones. The more badges, the more you’ve done. Each new check-in, entering new places into the Foursquare database, and other things earn you points. See, I told you it was just a stupid game.
Perhaps it’s not though, let’s take a moment and think outside the square. There’s a few things to consider with Foursquare that I’ve come to discover and these little items, make it much more than a game. To make it even better, we can apply it to real estate and our daily business.
Where are you?
Location, location, location. Let’s face it, you’re not always in the office. You’re not always with clients either. Right now, I’m sitting in a Starbucks writing this post. If a client of mine walked into the Starbucks and said hello, I’d stop in a heart beat and enjoy their company for awhile. Random happening, but I’ve had it occur before. We love connecting with clients (and non-clients) in person, it’s (according to most agents I know) the single most important factor in building a strong client base.
So what if you were in the local Starbucks, but your client was next door having a bite to eat. If you knew they were there, would you stop in just to say hello? If they knew you were next door, would they stop in just to say hello? If you’ve been doing your homework and building strong relationships with your clients, I bet the answer was yes to at least one of them. Instead, you’re in Starbucks and your client is next door. No connection made.
Think about what would happen if you’re clients knew where you were and you knew where they were. Sure, you wouldn’t want to go overkill and stalk them throughout the city, but it sure would be nice to be able to have a few more chance encounters on the street.
Who are you?
As you begin appearing all over your city, people will take notice. I have several locals that are now friends with me. We now trade barbs about different places we’re going to take over (being Mayor comes at a price – everyone wants to beat you) and share tips about discounts, things to do, and who has the best pizza in town. We’re socializing. We’re getting to know each other as well, since we often take conversations off of Foursquare and move them to our blogs and places like Twitter. I’m meeting the locals and interacting with them. Real estate 101, no?
Something a little different.
We all like to interact with everyone as we build our real estate businesses, but of course, the real goal is to make sure those acquaintances know we’re Realtors® and we’re there to help them in buying or selling. Foursquare doesn’t really have a way of doing that. Or does it? When people are reading your Foursquare updates, they might know you love to stop into that fabulous Italian restaurant in your town, but do they know what else you do?
Start checking into your office – simple enough, you probably spend a fair bit of time there. But what about checking into subdivisions, listings, title companies, lenders’ offices, etc. Have you thought about all the time you spend in those businesses and locations? With a simple check-in (and add a “shout out” – a short bit of text talking about the place you’re at) you can make sure people remember what it is you do. Staying top of mind is a goal we all share, so why not do it – in a more subtle fashion than ever before.
Checking in to a lender’s? How about “Checking rates with Lender A” as a note? Heading over to the title company? You could say “Heading into a closing on 123 Fake Street. Client is so excited.” New neighborhood you’re investigating? “Have you seen Builder X’s new model homes? They’re gorgeous inside.” Now of course, this is in no way meant to replace all the other check-ins you might do – restaurants, salons, museums, parks, tourist attractions, doctors, stores, and shopping malls. These are an important part of your persona as well. People like to relate to people with common interests. A local friend of mine just noticed I checked in at a gas station across the street from his home. He was excited to see me check-in there as this connects us in a way we weren’t before.
So go ahead play games.
Since Foursquare check-ins literally take about 5 seconds (10 if you type slow), you won’t find yourself sucked into any sort of real time-waster and you might actually have a bit of fun. As well, you’ll be building a database of favorite local spots that you frequent – we all recommend businesses to our clients, there’s little difference to what you would do normally, except that Foursquare gives you a platform to do it on.
photo courtesy of roomjosh
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: CMP.ly 0