So, today is Presidents Day here in the United States, so it is only right that we take a minute and chat about how politicians from all levels of government should be embracing foursquare. Overall, foursquare is growing at an alarming rate, and politicians need to take notice of this social media channel as they seek election or reelection. When politicians are out on the campaign trail, they have a great opportunity to share their location and the experiences surrounding the venues they are spending time at. Unfortunately, many politicians and their staff members are not taking the extra time to fully enhance their reach via foursquare, and shame on them for that. I am not sure if it is merely a matter of not knowing or simple laziness, but politicians need to jump aboard. Here are five quick and easy ways to use foursquare on the campaign trail (and between elections).
- Build Lists for the various legs of the campaign trail – this can be done before, during, or after a specific leg of the trail occurs. If it happens before, you could add a tip to indicate the event date; if you build the list after, be sure to include both a tip and a photo.
- Leave Personal Tips – candidates need to be personable; they need their constituents to know that they are human just like them. So, this is a great opportunity to add a personal touch. I would have the candidate pick out a few of his or her own favorite venues within his home area and tell his constituents what he likes best about those venues. In fact, this is an opportunity to leave a tip at a few locations and build another list out of it.
- Shout Reminders – politicians can use foursquare to shout out timely reminders to their foursquare friends and followers. Of course, this needs to be used appropriately and not abused. There is a fine line between timely messages and spam, so tread carefully, but this is still an effective option. Note that this feature is not native within the foursquare application anymore, so you will need to connect your foursquare to a third-party app like HootSuite to do so.
- Check-in! Sure, you can have a brand page and all, but it is important to check-in. How cool would it be for constituents to be checked into the same campaign trail venue with the candidate? For many, it would be extra cool. It is great to leave a little shout and/or photo along with each check-in. If the candidate is up on a stage, he or she could check-in with the crowd and snap a picture of the vast audience for added buzz.
- Engage Using Comments & Dones! Foursquare allows people to comment on others check-ins and also indicate when you have done a tip that they have left. In addition, if there is a tip at a venue that sounds great but isn’t something that the candidate has done (yet), he or she could add it to his or her to-do list! When you do any of these things, that person will get a notification! In the case of an appropriate and timely comment, your friend or follower will get the chance to reply with a comment, and a conversation can ensue!
Foursquare provides a variety of low-cost, creative options for politicians to engage their audience, yet (unfortunately) many politicians drop the ball and don’t fully utilize this great social media tool. So, on this Presidents Day, let’s remind our politicians to engage us on location as well as through Facebook and Twitter!