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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Snoball is an awesome site that allows individuals, companies and brands to raise money for charities through social media, including with foursquare check-ins. I recently used it as a fundraising tool when Foursquare Houston co-sponsored the Houston Tweet Drive for our December monthly meet-up.  It is super-easy to set up and is extremely flexible and manageable. My Snoball:

First, choose your non-profit. Snoball has a thorough database of non-profit charities and I had no problem finding and selecting one.  It’s best if you search using the exact name of the charity as their internal search is very specific.

Second, choose your event. Here is where you would select social media and a foursquare check-in. But with the options presented you can really be creative and make anything a Snoball!   You then select whether it is based on solely your check-in or anyone’s check-in and the location (based on your recent check-ins). This is where using Snoball for a specific event can get tricky. You’ll want to set it up as close as possible to your event as there are no “start” dates or times (more on this later).  Also, the venue selected needs to be somewhere you visited recently. I had never been to the venue of the Tweet Drive before, but one mobile website check-in later and I was in business.

Third, choose your amount per check-in. Snoball will not charge your credit card until you have $20 worth of check-ins. I had a concern with all the publicity around this event that thousands of jumpers would check-in and max out my credit card. Not only was that far from the case (we had 47 check-ins) but I had the opportunity to delete any check-ins before processing. So, you could in theory set up the snoball in advance and promote it beforehand without any trouble. Lesson learned: don’t be shy with the amount!

After the event, unless you are the most benevolent person in the world (and you are, right?), don’t forget to delete your snoball.

I love this site, it could be used in so many applications, not just for fundraising events:  a motivation tool, a celebration, a reminder. Just a really great product overall and works easily with foursquare. Something to consider when planning for Foursquare Day…



Yesterday, the IAB Mobile Marketing Center of Excellence released a report on mobile shopping use in the United States. With data provided by comScore and BIGresearch’s Simultaneous Media Survey, the Interactive Agency Bureau ranked the 2011 top mobile shopping-savvy cities.

The Top 5 Cities:

  1. Houston, TX
  2. New York, NY
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Los Angeles, CA
  5. Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX

Not exactly who you think of when it comes to the world of mobile commerce.

The ranking was based on an index combining four key data points, each with different weights:

• Ownership of a mobile phone
• Propensity to be influenced by mobile coupons
• Ownership of a mobile retail app on handset or tablet
• Ownership of a mobile social media app

How can this data be useful to a foursquare user?

Armed with this data, users, community managers and employees can approach business owners and brands about integrating foursquare in their marketing strategy. While the report doesn’t take foursquare specifically into account, there is plenty of good information to leverage, especially if your city is included. Percentage of consumers owning a mobile device, percentage of consumers who say mobile consumers influence purchase decisions and sharing information once at a retail location in particular are good fodder for convincing a venue to run a special.

Do you plan to use this data to encourage foursquare use? What do you think of the findings?

[Image courtesy of David]

4sqday is all about local businesses who, for one special day, offer an incredible Fourquare deal to bring attention to their location. But what about the other 364 days of the year? Let’s take a look at what one Portland-area pizza shop is doing with Foursquare. Or as they call it, “Schmoursquare.”

That's Mayor Schmizza to you!

Question of the day: What’s the BEST local Foursquare deal you’ve ever unlocked?

In today’s advancing technology world, small businesses are better able to compete with the middle to large-sized corporations; this is a really great thing! However, while this helps them compete on the same playing field, it does not mean that small businesses can just rush to implement a newer technology or social media tool. Instead, there needs to be an understanding of the business goals that each tool tackles along with what type of strategies would work best in each situation. Action without first understanding and then planning can often do more damage than not acting at all. The same is true when you claim your venue and implement a new foursquare special. Through my discussions with many foursquare users, new and veteran – superusers and not, one of the biggest complaints (head shakers of sorts) is that some businesses just do not get it. Here are three simply tips to go by:

  1. Do not rush it ~ Plan & Act! Take the time to understand your foursquare customers and then create a great special to reward them for checking in. Too often, small businesses will rush to claim their venue and then throw a dull, lackluster incentive on foursquare and think that it will work just fine.
  2. Be Specific! Sometimes, businesses are not that specific about their specials. I saw a local business in my area that offered a free brow wax on their first check-in. But, when I called about it and asked for more details, I learned that I actually needed to buy a facial of some sort in order to get that waxing for free. It was safe to say that they did they did not understand that somebody could simply check-in when walking in the door and in an effort to request more information rather than making their first check-in only after arranging an appointment over the phone. Needless to say, they are no longer in business; what a shame!
  3. Communicate with Employees! Lastly, they never tell their employees much about the special, leaving them blind when the customers come in. When a customer comes in and unlocks a special, it is important that the other employees are in the loop about how to proceed with the redemption of that special. You want to make a great impression on that customer; in many cases, he or she is coming in for the very first time, and you want to begin to build that relationship right from the beginning!

So, there you have it – a few quick foursquare tips for the business owners out there! Did I miss any tips that you think business owners need to know about? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Tacos are adored globally, but especially here in Texas. That’s why we Texans were stoked with the inclusion of the Hot Tamale badge in the recent core badge cornucopia. We have more Mexican restaurants, Tex-Mex eateries, burrito shops, taco trucks, and drive-thru taquerias than you can shake a Lonestar at.  And with the new “expertise” Hot Tamale badge levels, we can show off our chile relleno know how. A level 10 Hot Tamale badge would give us more Texan clout than a giant cowboy hat or shiny belt buckle. Not that those are actually things we wear here. Stereotypes, y’all!

I was in South Texas for Thanksgiving, where tamales are traditionally served along with (deep fried) turkey and all the trimmings. On Black Friday morning, I ventured out (bypassing the Mall Rat badge unlock, thank you very much) to enjoy some breakfast tacos with Ian, co-admin of Foursquare Corpus Christi and taco historian.  I witnessed his Hot Tamale unlock in person – he was at an impressive Level 9. Guac and roll, indeed! I myself am only a paltry Level 7 – although I am on a mission to try as much queso as possible, so I’m working on it. Give me a break, just like Hank Hill, I’m not a native Texan.

These new expertise badges make checking in exciting again! Do you find that you’re trying to gain a higher level of expertise, going to places you’ve never been? I find myself recommending going out to new Mexican restaurants to friends all the time – trying to attain that victorious Level 10 status, I tell you whut.

Breakfast Taco Menu

Breakfast Tacos offered by Taqueria Jalsico #8


Ian checking in and unlocking the Level 9 Hot Tamale badge!