FB & Foursquare: Location Based Services Bring Value to Real Estate Agents

Facebook and Foursquare are social networking platforms that provide location-based interactivity for users. Location based strategies of these social networking platforms may be utilized to bring value to real estate agents. When real estate agents conduct open houses, location based marketing strategies may assist the agent in driving potential buyers to the property.

Foursquare

Foursquare enables users to share their location with their friends. Foursquare allows a friend to keep in touch with each other by keeping tabs on where each user is located at any given time. In addition, Foursquare enables users to collect points and “badges” from the locations they visit, which may be saved and then exchanged for coupons. Coupons may provide free merchandise, special offers or discounts for the products and services individuals use each day going about their normal activities.

This is how Foursquare works: The application is installed onto a Smartphone or mobile device. The user adds friends, or imports their Friends list from Facebook. The user may click on the entry for one of their friends to see a profile of the friend. Along with the friend’s profile, the friend’s location is displayed.

Users may either rely on their mobile device’s GPS to track their location, or they may enter their location, or “check in.” by typing the location into an input box. The Foursquare application lists businesses and venues around the users’ location. Foursquare lists restaurants, bars, stores and other businesses around the users current location.

Users may also click on a business profile to see if any of their friends are currently at that location. The business profile also displays the “mayor” of that location. (The user who checks in most frequently at a specific location during a given period of time becomes the “mayor” of the location.)

So how will location-based applications such as Foursquare assist real estate agents conducting open houses? The answer is: In the same way that other businesses utilize location-based applications to drive customers and prospective buyers to their business. Using some incentive for those who “check in” at the agent’s open house or business is one way that Foursquare and other location-based applications are used for marketing purposes. Businesses utilize Foursquare in creative ways to drive customers to their location. Businesses may offer free goods and services to the mayor of a location on a given day. A real estate agent may offer a coupon for a local business or restaurant, or some other incentive, to the first 10 Foursquare friends to check in at the open house. If you are selling Hampton real estate, you may offer coupons or free services for a Hampton business for the first 10, 20 or 50 individuals who check in at the open house.

Facebook

In early 2010, Facebook launched location-based features that operate in a similar way to Foursquare. Facebook now allows status updates that are seen by Facebook friends that indicate the user’s current location. Facebook location-based features may be used in much the same way as the Foursquare features. Users update their status based on where they are at any given time. Users may also “check in” at the location.

Real estate agents promoting an open house may offer incentives to Facebook friends who check in at the location, just like with the Foursquare application. However, Facebook reaches a wider audience as this social networking platform is worldwide and boasts of numbers of users in the hundreds of millions.

Mobile Marketing and Location Based Strategies for Real Estate Agents

The key to successfully marketing your open house is to ensure that you have a sufficient list of Facebook and/or Foursquare friends. When marketing your open house, you will send a blast text message to all of your Facebook and/or Foursquare friends announcing the incentive to check in at your open house location. To utilize location-based applications to market open house events or other commercial events, build your friends list on either or both applications and enlist local businesses to sponsor incentives for the event.

Mobile marketing is one of the newest trends for expanding the potential customer base for many types of businesses. Real estate agents simply need to familiarize themselves with the potential of such mobile marketing approaches, such as the location-based features of Facebook and Foursquare, to drive potential buyers to open housed and other events.

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