Are you wondering how Foursquare could help your church?
Are you interested in rewarding your current members?
Well, Foursquare is the ideal platform to bridge the gap between your offline and online audience in an affordable and scalable way.
As the leading location-based social network, Foursquare offers a numerous opportunities for churches both big and small.
There are many alternatives to using Foursquare, but when it comes to location-focused social apps, Foursquare is the king of location with its 30 million users and robust features for users, businesses, and churches alike.
People use Foursquare to check into locations they’ve visited by using the app on their mobile phones. Once they’ve checked into a location, it can be shared with their Foursquare friends, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
This is where businesses on Foursquare benefit from being on the platform because users’ friends see where they’re checking in to eat, shop, work and worship, which could possibly influence them to do the same based on the recommendations of their trusted connections.
There are nearly 1,000,000 businesses on Foursquare currently, and it’s your turn to leverage this network to build your church base with new souls to preach the gospel of Christ to.
Here are 8 tips to effectively market your Church on Foursquare
#1: Claim Your Business’s Location
The very first thing any church with a physical presence should do is claim their physical locations to ensure ownership of your church on Foursquare.
Your venue is your church’s home base on Foursquare. To begin the process on your mobile phone, download the Foursquare app and attempt to check in by searching for your business.
If you don’t see your business listed, search it by name and if it still isn’t listed, scroll all the way to the bottom and click where it Add this place.
At this point, it’s time to list the name of your church, the category it falls under and the exact physical address where it’s located.
Type in the exact name of your church under the name field to make sure it’s easily found by searchers, and then choose the category that most accurately describes your church.
There are many categories to choose from, but since you are a church and not a real business, I recommended you list your church in the Professional & Other Places section.
Then main categories will break down into more options. So just continue to select the subcategories that you fell define your church best.
The last step to claiming your location on Foursquare is vital, even though this field says the address is optional. When it comes to filling out a profile on Foursquare, it’s important to give as much relevant information in each field as possible to help inform your current and future members. This is true for many other social networks as well.
Select the address field and begin filling out the address, cross street, city, state, postcode (zip code), phone number and Twitter handle to ensure you give all of the vital information a member needs to find or communicate with your church.
If your church’s location is listed already and your organization doesn’t have ownership, then the process begins by clicking the Do you manage this venue? Claim here button.
It’s also possible to claim your venue from the computer as well by visiting the location’s listing on your desktop and clicking the same button that you would on the mobile app.
At this point, there’s the option of having Foursquare verify your location by phone or by mail. Phone is the quicker route, but not always doable if you’re trying to coordinate the verification of multiple locations.
If your business chooses to verify by phone, an automated message from Foursquare will call your location’s number asking for the church’s name, your name and your relationship to the business.
From here, enter the four-digit number on your screen into your phone to finalize the verification of your phone number for your business.
Completing the process by mail is similar. You’ll receive a code to enter to confirm your location. At the very end, you’ll have to pay a $10 verification fee to process your venue claim.
For more assistance with the verification process, especially if help is needed verifying many locations, check Foursquare’s verification resource page.
#2: Use and Promote Local Updates
Sending updates from your venue on Foursquare is a newly launched feature that allows your church to engage with people who’ve previously checked into your location and who are nearby.
This feature allows your church to send updates to a Foursquare user’s feed about specials, coupons, deals, announcements and other relevant information about your specific location with attached text, images or deals.
This feature of Foursquare is only available on desktop computers. On top of being able to add text and attach photos and specials, the updates can be filtered to only share with specific locations or all of the locations of your church (if you have more than one). This is ideal for segmenting your updates to be hyperlocal, and therefore more relevant to your followers.
#3: Offer Foursquare Specials
All businesses offer deals and specials to their customers, but a unique way to offer socially focused offers is by connecting your customers’ online and offline habits with Foursquare specials.
There are many types of specials your church can set up for free for the purpose of attracting new members or rewarding loyal existing members using Foursquare.
Examples of the types of specials offered for attracting new members are:
- Swarm Special—”If 30 people check in at once, get free dinner at Ryans..”
- Friends Special—”Check in with 3 friends and get a The Passion of Christ DVD”
- Flash Special—”The first 10 people who check in for the 8am service gets a free bible.”
- Newbie Special—”Get a free $20 gift-card on your first check-in.”
Examples of the types of specials offered to reward returning members are:
- Loyalty Special—”Get a free t-shirt every check fifth check-in.”
- Mayor Special—”Mayor gets 2 tickets to Yolanda Adams Concert”
Which specials sound most appealing for your church?
Many businesses and churches use a combination of these different specials to encourage a growing membership while satisfying their returning members.
It’s suggested to run two Foursquare specials at once to see what’s working with your audience—similar to an A/B test with different creative on an ad, but with social engaging giveaways for your beloved members.
Use local updates to promote your specials on Foursquare, as well as Facebook, Twitter and the other social networks you’re active on to spread the news of the special.
#4: Create a Foursquare Page
A Foursquare page is your company’s hub on the network where all of your locations can be managed in one place. Users can choose to follow Foursquare pages, which is most ideal for larger companies and brands with multiple locations.
A page allows for more branding than a single venue—starting with the profile picture, typically pulled from your Twitter avatar, and a 860 x 130 px banner at the top of your page.
Below the banner, there’s a place for a bio about your company and room for a link to a destination of your choice, most likely your website, and the ability to connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Here is a quick video tutorial our good folks at Mighty Bites made on how to create a foursquare page.
As a page administrator, your business can leave tips at your locations and at other neighboring and relevant locations, like we discussed in the last item above.
Your page gives you the opportunity to leave branded messages for Foursquare users to see at your church locations and elsewhere to provide value to new and existing members.
Your page also serves two other helpful functions: allowing check-ins for your company as a whole and a place to organize lists of locations.
If you run a venue on Foursquare, that location isn’t able to check-in to other locations like a regular user would. This is where a Foursquare page comes in for your company, allowing your brand to check in and share updates about other events and locations with your audience.
To do this, go to the Updates tab when you’re managing your page to check in at other locations by searching for them. Add text, photos, Twitter and Facebook integration to your check-in to share it with your followers and members.
When you check-in at a particular location from your page, it’s listed in the newsfeed of your followers on Foursquare and on your page itself.
These check-ins are different from your local Foursquare updates discussed earlier, because they are from a higher level about the entire company, not specific to one of your locations.
The other helpful feature that your page offers is the ability to create lists of locations.
Creating lists centered around various locations grouped by themes can be extremely valuable to your community on Foursquare. Creating lists of your church’s favorite restaurants in the city or of all your East coast locations are just two examples of how your church could utilize the list feature.
#5: Add Foursquare Plugins to Your Website
Integrating Foursquare with your website is an effective way to connect your audiences and boost your following on the Foursquare platform.
When you add the ‘Like’ button to your website, this will allow visitors to like your Foursquare page right from your website if they’re logged into Foursquare. The easier your company makes it for your audience to follow you on Foursquare, the quicker your church will grow.
The ‘Save to Foursquare’ button will allow your audience to save your locations to lists on Foursquare for later use.
Users will receive push notifications when they’re near that location again as an added reminder to visit that location.
It’s an excellent way to connect users browsing your website on their desktop with the physical locations of your business through notifications on their mobile phone.
Add this button to your website to bolster your engagement on Foursquare and the member flow at your church.
#6: Enhance Your Events
Using Foursquare on location at your events is a helpful way to drive attendance, while syncing interactions with your church online and offline.
Using updates from your page and check-ins on behalf of your church, your events can reach new audiences and promote interest in your services, booth, conference or store opening.
One of the best ways I’ve seen this done is by people taking pictures at their church event using their instagram app, which is a social sharing photo site that captures the foursquare location of where the picture is taken. One you post the picture to your feed, just like facebook, your friends like it and it has the potential to go viral.
Events are a crucial way to get in front of your potential members and build a deeper connection. Stand out at your next conference, revival, or concert by updating attendees with the location of your church at the event, as well as other helpful information from your Foursquare page.
#8: Use Signs at Your Locations
The unique aspect of Foursquare is that it’s connecting your actions in the real world to your actions online. Don’t forget to leverage calls to action at your physical locations to encourage, communicate and support your company’s presence on Foursquare.
Be sure to use window clings, stickers or signs in your church’s window or doorway to remind people to check in on Foursqaure.
One of the main reasons people don’t use an app after they’ve downloaded it is because they forget.
Calls to action about Foursquare will help drive your members to check in, leave tips and become more active with your company on the platform.
To get a Foursquare window cling or sticker, claim your location with Foursquare by mail and you’ll receive a window cling with your confirmation letter, or download and print the cling here. If you need help with your foursquare marketing for your church, contact us – that’s what we do!
So what do you think? What other ways have you used Foursquare to successfully market your church? Do you have any concerns about location-based marketing? Do you like using Foursquare for church Share your thoughts in the comments below.