Managing local venues

One of the biggest problems for Superusers is how to identify venues that need work, outside of those that have been flagged for action via the Superuser admin panel.

This article is a class on how to use a number of free online tools to easily identify venues that need work, as well as other items of interest.

Using Twitter

As you know, a good portion of users will post their Foursquare check-ins to Twitter. This is by far the easiest way to get a stream of venues being visited within your local area, and identify those for action.

Finding 4sq tweets

This’ll be the hardest part of this step – constructing a search query to find the tweets. You don’t have to be a user of Twitter in order to use this method.

  1. Go to Twitter’s advanced search page (http://search.twitter.com/advanced)
  2. In the words group, click in the box titled all of these words, and key in the text 4sq. The reason for this specific text string is that all tweets posted by Foursquare to Twitter will contain a link with the text 4sq.
  3. Scroll down until you find the places group, click in the box titled Near this place, key in name of your local geographic centre or regional centre, followed by a comma (,) then the name of your country. For example, I am based in the city of Perth, within the country of Australia. I would therefore enter into this box the text Perth, Australia.
  4. You now need to select how wide a search radius you’d like to see tweets from. This radius is selected from the drop down box, as close a 1km/mi from the location, up to 500km/mi. You can use the radio buttons next to the drop down for selecting what unit of measurement you wish to use.
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and press Search.

Voila! You will now have a list of all relevant Foursquare tweets within the search radius you specified. If you are a twitter user, use the save this search button to come back to it. For those who are not twitter users, simply save the resulting URL as a bookmark that you can come back to.

You can now look through the list, and using the posted tweets see a list of venues and locations locals are visiting. Each tweet will include a link, which you can click on to access the venue deals, and click the edit button to make the necessary changes.

If the venue has an address and the tweet does not include a shout from the user, you should also see the address for the venue included. If there’s no address, this is a good sign the venue could use some attention.

Identifying venues through friends

If you have already built the twitter search query, then you can take this to the next level.

The next level is about building a local 4sq community presence, and also gives you even easier access to check-in information.

Setup a Twitter account

Your first step is to create a local Foursquare presence.

Before doing this, you should see if there is already a Foursquare presence in your local area. A good place to start is looking at my Foursquare resources user list on Twitter. If there’s already an account setup for your local area, please don’t create one that might conflict with others.

Accounts are best named in a way that gives them geographic relevance. For example, accounts already in Australia are named as follows;

  • 4sqQLD – Queensland (the state)
  • 4sqNSW – New South Wales (“”)
  • 4sqWA – Western Australia (“”)
  • 4sqSydney – Sydney (just the Sydney metropolitan area)

Once you have selected an appropriate geographic name, create a new twitter account in the normal way. If you need to use a different email address for the account, create a new Gmail account (again, picking an email address that has geographic relevance) which you can use for setting up the new twitter account.

Once you have setup your new twitter account, make sure to update its profile, description and the like. Look at some of the other geographic Foursquare accounts for ideas on how you should present this information.

Friending local Forusquare users on Twitter

Using the search created in the initial exercise, you can use this to find local users, and add them as friends to your newly created Twitter account.

You can do this in small batches by looking at the results of the search query once a day, then finding new people to friend on Twitter.

Adding friends will be important for the next step.

Setup a Foursquare account

Once you have setup the Twitter account and added local Foursquare users as friends, you can then establish a new Foursquare account for your local presence and connect it to twitter.

Create a new Foursquare account in the usual way, and once done connect the account to your newly created twitter account. Once connected, you can use the Find friends feature to import your twitter friends list and add them as friends on Foursquare.

Just like the twitter results, you can monitor check-ins from the Foursquare website and again find venues needing attention.

Monitoring in Hootsuite

Hootsuite is another tool in the arsenal of accessing venue information, and identifying where changes might be needed.

The good thing about Hootsuite is that it is free for up to five individual social media accounts (twitter, foursquare, facebook), and it is able to display a stream of all foursquare friends check-ins and twitter results in columns for easy access from a single screen.

Further, if you are using a mobile device with access to Hootsuite, the information and configuration follows you around. This means, assuming you are a hardcore Superuser and defender of the Foursquare realm, you can have the same information seamlessly accessible when on the go. From planes, airport lounges, trains and taxis – no place with a data connection will be safe from your Superuser powers (used for good of course).

This step assumes you have successfully signed up for a Hoot suite account, and connected your Twitter and Foursquare accounts to the service. If you need assistance doing this, refer to Hootsuite’s help documentation, specially on adding a social network profile.

Adding a stream

In this example, we’ll add in your friends stream from Foursquare.

  1. Press the Add stream button, located in the top right corner of your Hootsuite screen below the tab.
  2. A new window will appear on screen, with a list of social networks on the left. Select Foursquare.
  3. From the drop down box titled Select a profile, select the Foursquare profile of your newly created Foursquare account.
  4. From the drop down box titled Select the type of stream, select Recent checkins.
  5. Press the create stream button, located at the bottom right hand side of the window.

A new column will appear within Hootsuite, listing all recent check-ins of your Foursquare friends. You can peruse this to find venues, specially those with incorrect names, that need attention.

This is a brief overview of how you can use available information tools to manage nearby venues and finding those that need attention.

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