by Sean Devlin, Front Rush
Get ready, Coach. There’s a new social networking website that has the tech world buzzing, and we think it might be something you’ll see college athletic directors using in the very near future.
Want to be ahead of the curve and start using these tools to attract more fans and recruits? Read all about Foursquare.com in our analysis below…
Why do we care?
Foursquare.com is the next thing that you are going to be sick of hearing about. Its about to pass 3 million users, it has been valued at $115 million, its growing faster than Twitter did, and its only a year and some months old. Basically its the next big social networking tool.
What is it?
Foursquare is an app on the iPhone, or other web enabled phones, that let’s users ‘check-in’ to locations to let their friends know where they are at any given time. It has game mechanics associated with it which is why it is growing so quickly. For example, if a user ‘checks-in’ to their favorite pizza place the most times in a single month, then they can become the ‘mayor’ of that location. If they perform certain tasks like checking in more than 10 times in a day, they can earn badges (not unlike Boy Scout badges, or badges of recognition). As a user checks-in to various places, they get points which they use to compete against their friends from month to month.
How is it going to be used in sports?
We have our speculations, but a couple areas that seem really cool…
Connecting with Fans
1) Your University Badge
As briefly described above, there are “badges” in Foursquare. Users earn badges by completing certain tasks within Foursquare and then proudly show their Badges in their Foursquare profile. An example of a badge is the “I’m on a Boat” badge which is earned by ‘checking-in’ while on boats. Another example is the ‘man vs food’ badge which is earned by checking in to restaurants found on the food channel show ‘man vs food’. What we see as a really cool badge would be for Universities to have “University Badges”. The idea would be that fans, current students, recruits, etc. could earn your University’s badge by checking into various spots related to your school e.g. Football watch parties, on campus library, stadium, athletic facilities…you get the idea.
Through Foursquare, a University could offer deals or promotions to the avid fans. For example, the University Bookstore could give 10% off to anyone who ‘checks-in’ to the bookstore. Or if a user is the ‘mayor’ of the on-campus restaurant, they can get a free sandwich or drink. Utilizing the above scenarios, there are creative ways to give away t-shirts or hats, and other fan items.
1) Learn more about your recruits
If you connect with your recruits on Foursquare you can instantly see the places that they are checking into. By monitoring these locations, you can learn more about their interests, their habits, their character. For example, if you see your recruit consistently checking into the library and the athletic facility, you may be able to gauge them as a hard working student athlete. However, if your recruit is consistently checking into ‘party like’ locations, you may question their work ethic. Or if your recruit is checking into concerts and music venues, you can learn that they have an interest in music which can give you the inside scoop.
2) Let your recruits learn more about you
If you join Foursquare and start checking in, you can give your recruits an inside view of what you are up to. This of course helps to build the personal bond between yourself and your athletes. What’s nice about this is you can choose the venues that you want to check into, so you won’t disclose anything that you prefer not to.
That’s a very brief overview of Foursquare, it’s benefits, and it’s potential. Its definitely a game changer in the consumer world, and we very much expect creative athletic departments, universities and coaches to find unique ways to leverage it for their benefit.
Oh, by the way…these ideas are just that: Ideas. Please check with your department’s compliance officer before utilitzing the new Foursquare leap.
Front Rush is enveiling lots of new technology features for their list of users this year. Is your web based recruiting software on top of the latest trends? Or, is it time to take a look at what else is out there? If it is, let Front Rush talk to you about what they could do for you and your program.
Click here to take the first step!