Foursquare has been a polarizing little app for the real estate community. People seem to love it or hate it. When it launched, Foursquare was used by the plugged-in RE.net as a game, a fun way to interact with each other and with the public. More recently, businesses, including the real estate industry, have begun to investigate ways to take Foursquare to another level, namely promotion of their business. In real estate, this would mainly be promoting your own office if you have a bricks and mortar location, and/or promoting individual listings. If the debate on the usefulness (or moron rating) of Foursquare wasn’t hot enough already, adding listings to it has had the effect of taking the discussion out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Here is the debate in a nutshell: Agents add their listings to Foursquare as a promotional tool. They can offer rewards to those who check-in (a good open house promotional tool), can add tips to try and drive extra traffic if people check-in nearby, or add info about the property (including a single property URL if they have one) with the idea that their friends and followers may look into the property if they see the agent checking in via Foursquare or other social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Seems like an ingenius and free angle to easily add a layer of marketing of the listings, right?
“Not so fast!”, claim the nay-sayers… “that is dangerous, how would the new buyers feel if people were driving by and actually trying to check-in to their new home?”
“Hmmm, well, for one, the venue could be “taken down” after the home sold and it already is on the internet in likely dozens of locations already such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.” rebuts the Foursquare-enthusiast. “It’s not that people try to get inside a house without a Realtor or appointment just because they see it for sale on an app.”
“I don’t want to be spammed by all these listings from the Fourquare users, Facebook people and Twitter friends I follow” chimes in another member of the discussion.
“Well, if the average agent lists, say one to four listings a month, is it spam to see them checking in to a new listing one to four times a month?”
Where do I stand on the issue? I think for areas that have a vibrant Foursquare using population, it can be a great way to generate some additional interest for the listing and give the listing agent additional coverage in their farm area. If handled correctly, it doesn’t have to be spam and it can be taken down as a venue when sold, thereby not bothering the new buyers. I don’t buy into the idea that it is any more or less dangerous for the sellers than having their home listed on the internet, there are going to be drive-bys just like there already are drive-bys for any actively marketed home and if I were the seller, the more marketing the better.
This post was sparked by a discussion which started on our weekly Miami Real Estate Tweet Chat. (you can read the transcript on the link) People do feel strongly one way or the other, what do you think?
Listings on Fourquare? Clever, Dangerous or just plain Spam?