Foursquare For Realtors

by AdMavericks on September 29, 2010

I’ll admit that I’ve been harsh towards Foursquare usage in the past and it was well debated in this post earlier this year.

Foursquare in a nutshell: Go somewhere. “Check-in” at that location with your phone. Win virtual badges. Push those “Check-ins” to sites like Facebook and Twitter in the form of updates.

With only 4% usage of location based services (LBS) like Foursquare, Gowalla and now Facebook Places, recommending Foursquare or other LBS to our clients has been somewhat of an afterthought. Although, I am starting to change my tune.

I’m going to make the assumption (as a lot of people have) that Foursquare and other LBS users are a sub set of Twitter users. I’m making this assumption based the high level of early technology adopters that flock to emerging technologies. (If someone has the research to back this up, please let me know.) The REAL VALUE I see in brands and individuals using Foursquare is directly based on the way Foursquare integrates “Check-ins” as updates on sites like Twitter and Facebook.

So I’m having lunch with Tony Muse the other day. Muse is one half in-line skate champion and one half Remax Real Estate Concepts Realtor. Muse and I get to talking about social media for Realtors. What works, what doesn’t. Then we start talking about Foursquare and how it might work for him . Here’s what we came up with.

The image is a screen shot of a Foursquare venue I added yesterday. This is the house I grew up in Miami, Fl, simply called “Josh’s Old House.” It has the address with a map so it’s easy to find. And at the bottom, I’ve added this tip:

So if you’re a realtor, why aren’t you posting your listings on Foursquare? How about something like…

Venue: Old World Charm South of Grand.

Location: Shows the address and the map to get to the listing.

Tip: Kitchen renovations include granite and all new stainless steel appliances. Then, include a link to the listing on your Web site.

Realtors are masters of self promotion, so having their avatar being their professional real estate photo, and their Foursquare account being their name won’t hurt.

So how do Realtors let people know about this? Link your Foursquare account with Facebook and Twitter. You can do this during sign up. Stop by and see the sellers of the home, maybe bring them some home flyers for their yard sign and “Check-in” on Foursquare. When you do that, everyone on Facebook and Twitter will see something like:

@TonyMuse: I’m at “Old World South of Grand (link to Foursquare)” – That’d peak my interest. Does it peak yours?

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

ben cox September 29, 2010 at 4:13 pm

100% agree. Although you hope the home for sale is not next door to some jack ass who labeled their house “Maurice’s sex palace” but then again that could attract a certain home buyer…

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Hannah Inman September 29, 2010 at 4:25 pm

Josh, we’ve actually been contemplating doing this for our spec listings. If realtors would check into our specs when showing them, it may peak other realtors or potential buyers to check out what all the activity is about. I see this working better with spec homes than resales (safety). We have two questions looming – 1) do we need to offer some sort of “prize” to encourage check ins by realtors? 2) if so, what?

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Josh Fleming September 29, 2010 at 4:36 pm

I love that as an idea, Hannah. I don’t think I’d offer a prize. The real value for the Realtor is you alerting them to a tool that would allow more people to see the properties they are looking at via Foursquare, Twitter and Facebook.

BUT – I’d make it easy for them. Have a lap top at the spec home (if you can) and help them sign up for an account. Most likely the Realtors are already on Facebook, so synching that up should be fairly seamless. Couple with the fact that Realtors live on their phones and you play the role of hero!

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Joe Winn September 29, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Good bloggie, Fleming. I’m not an avid Foursquare user, partly because I don’t want jokers creeping on me while I’m smashing flour tacos at Tasty’s and partly because my antiquated phone doesn’t even have Snake, let alone LBS apps, but I understand the technology enough to see one possibility: What if realtors (Wordpress insists I misspelled realtors, though I don’t believe it) offered rewards when they hosted open houses? Perhaps they offer $500 off the purchase of any house sold by that Realty Company.

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Joe Winn September 29, 2010 at 6:28 pm

BTW, I’m sure the current owners of your old crib will be mighty confused when local Foursquare fiends start holding gathering in their backyard.

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Josh Fleming October 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Wonder what kind of digital badge could be created for my old backyard?

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Michael Leaders October 1, 2010 at 12:01 am

Question? Can you delete the venue once the house is sold?

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Geoff Wood October 1, 2010 at 4:05 pm

@Michael You have to contact foursquare and have them delete the venue. As far as I know, there’s no way for individuals to do that (perhaps if you claim the venue as “manager” you have the capability to remove a venue (I’ve never tried). There are several temporary venues around Des Moines that I wish could be removed more easily (such as 80/35 Music Fest stages and landmarks) and I think for-sale houses we become the same thing

@Josh I love the forward thinking on foursquare for realtors – I’m excited to see what foursquare becomes once it’s embraced as a business tool outside of the retail community. However, like Hannah said, I’d never do this for safety reasons. As you know I’m an avid foursquare user (more than 1000 checkins so far this year) but I don’t check in at home and I don’t want my home listed on foursquare. Also, my wife & son (not foursquare users) live at my house (well, “our house”) and I don’t want to specifically point that location out to the mobile internet on their behalf.

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Josh Fleming October 4, 2010 at 9:30 pm

@Michael – I think Geoff answered, thanks for reading and for asking.

@Geoff – thanks for chiming in. Interesting points.

I think the odd thing is people in general are fine telling other people when they aren’t home, and exactly where they are. But actually putting their home on Foursquare would be a problem.

It’s fairly easy to find out where someone lives these days, with public records sites like Polk County Accessor, etc. Shoot, even a Google search of someone’s name can often reveal an address and a phone number. But, the idea that it can be broadcast on the social Web seems to cross the line for some. Perhaps creating public records isn’t something we want more of when it comes to our safety.

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