Foursquare, a location-based social network that allows users with smartphones to “check in” at venues, can be used to increase engagement for both public and private events.   Meeting planners and event professionals who are not currently utilizing this social media site are losing out big time!

Foursquare is perfect for increasing engagement because it combines the fun of social media with incentives and viral messaging!  Foursquare users can event connect their accounts to Facebook and Twitter so that their check-ins or updates post on their other social media profiles.  Here is how you can get started:

1.  Go to to create an account.  You can still create an account if you do not have a smart phone; use your computer.

2.  Search for the name of your conference in the search box.  Once you do not see it pop up, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select “Add a new venue to foursquare

3.  Enter your conference name as your venue name and fill out all requested information.  Be sure to include the Twitter name of your event!  In fact, you can create several “venues” if your conference has different events.  You may create a “venue” for your opening night reception, another for your breakfast award ceremony, etc.

4.  Add tips to your events.  A tip might include, “Get 4 friends on Twitter to mention #EVENTNAME and tag you and you will receive entry into our VIP reception” or “The first person to check in at the MPI Miami booth will receive a complimentary hotel room upgrade”.  If you are unfamiliar with Twitter hashtags (#), please click here.

5.  Publicize, publicize, publicize!  Make sure that your attendees know to check into your conference or events on Foursquare when they arrive.  You can include this in their registration confirmation, follow-up emails and even on social networks that your attendees use including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.  If you are concerned that they may not know how to use the service, create a short video on Screenr demonstrating how to use Foursquare and post a link to it for your attendees.  Let them know that they can recieve prizes, upgrades, VIP entry, etc. for following tips or becoming the “mayor” of an event.  A mayor is simply the person who checks into a venue the most times; with them only receiving credit once per day.


Crystal Washington is a marketing strategist, social media consultant, international keynote speaker and afro puff aficionado.  If you would like to book Crystal for your event, please click here.  To view her one sheet, please click here.