Colleges are key to foursquare’s growth strategy. They offer a captive audience of students who are already using their mobile phones heavily. By partnering with colleges to promote use of the service on campus, foursquare is able to gain users with a minimal investment. That’s why they’ve recently courted on-campus ambassadors and added a series of college-themed badges.
Today they’ve launched a new Foursquare for Universities page describing the benefits to schools and added a form where colleges can apply to open their own branded profiles â€” and maybe even badges â€” on foursquare.
By joining the more than 20 universities with a branded profile, colleges can leave tips around campus that will be seen when their “followers” check in. These can be trivia, important reminders or announcements about upcoming events. Becoming a branded profile instead of a regular user allows schools to add friends more easily, since the request is one-way, similar to a “like” on Facebook.
For colleges, partnering with foursquare gives them an immediate connection with their students, alumni and guests. Students can learn more about their campuses using the tips provided by the college. They can also become more involved in campus activities, because foursquare gives an immediate way to see where things are happening on campus at any given moment. Just by opening the app, students can see how many people are checked in at any spot on campus.
Colleges are also able to offer specials to reward their students. They could reward the most frequent visitors at the dining hall, for instance, or give students and fans a prize for checking in at sporting events. Foursquare suggests tying rewards to the new campus badges, as well:
â€¦a popular campus-based eatery can offer discounts to students who have unlocked the Campus Munchies badge, and the campus bookstore can run specials geared towards the Bookworm Bender badge-holders.
For foursquare, the advantage is getting students hooked on their system and letting the colleges do most of the promotion for them. As foursquare use grows on campus, more and more students will use it to find where their friends are and what the hot spots are on campus. College campuses are the closest environment to the dense urban jungles foursquare was originally designed for, where students can typically walk to another venue if they find their friends are checked in there.
We’ve already seen several creative uses of foursquare on college campuses, from pointing students to alcohol-free venues to a scavenger hunt aimed at introducing new students to campus. Colleges will continue to use foursquare in inventive ways and making it easier for them to open their own branded profile will only help with that â€” and hopefully gain foursquare users in the process.