Posts Tagged ‘foursquare’

Crisis PR Corner: foursquare Checks in to Apology Mode the Right Way

October 6th, 2010

The latest social media darling, foursquare, ran into trouble this week when its entire site went down for more than a dozen hours over two days.  All the big social networks have faced outages, so it’s certainly a common problem such sites will inevitably face.  What separates foursquare from the herd, though, is the very savvy way the site handled its crisis public relations.  To understand this, we’ll analyze fourquare’s apology and highlight the key quotes.

“We’re really sorry.” WHAT?  A big media-related company actually apologizing for its actions, instead of blaming its fans and users for its problems?  Yes, believe it with foursquare.  The smartest crisis PR step toward redemption is to apologize for your faults, and to do so in simple and clear terms.

“What happened.” With the toughest part of crisis PR out of the way, foursquare next gives a technical, but digestible, explanation of the database error that caused the site’s malfunction.  Sometimes an organization uses their explanation to hit stakeholders over the head, thinking that getting all high-and-mighty with technical smarts will distract everyone until the fire is extinguished.  That’s almost always a bad move, and smacks of arrogance.  In this case, foursquare takes time and care to give a straight-forward explanation of the error, which humanizes the site’s operators and makes the reader think, “hey, this could happen to anyone.”

“What we’ll be doing differently.” Don’t you love the nice titles in the foursquare apology?  Serves as good guideposts to get the reader through to the most important points.  The apology and explanation are only part of the crisis public relations drill; you also have to explain how things will change going forward.  This reassures skeptical foursquare users and anyone else with a stake in the site’s success.  And, setting up independent feeds and sites to keep users updated on status alerts shows discipline in the re-engineering process.

Because of this very well written apology, foursquare will continue to set the standard compared to other location-based competition.  And, judging from the overwhelming positive foursquare user comments to the blog post apology, the site earned tremendous goodwill and will live to see another day.  Bravo to the foursquare PR team!

Social Media Musts for Travel Businesses and Destinations

July 27th, 2010

Amazing what a difference a few months make!  After getting beat up the last several quarters, major airlines are posting big profit gains.  Of course, much of this comes from annoying fees and charges (Spirit Air remains full-speed ahead on this front), but that being said, people are traveling and spending dollars – great for the economy and new travel-related business opportunities.

As a travel destination – whether you’re a hotel, restaurant, or attraction – here are some basic social media tips to help expand your PR capabilities:

Partner with the big kids.  When it comes to positive publicity, why do the heavy lifting when other companies and organizations have already done that for you?  Partner with major locations and sites in your business area, and spread the cost of promotion across these entities.

Hit the playground.  Add your business as a venue to foursquare and create unique savings, giveaways, or other rewards for potential clients and customers.  As of now, foursquare remains in its infancy compared to other social network platforms, so its potential should only grow along with its popularity.  Keep your eyes on this one, it will likely take interesting turns in the future.

Facebook promotions.  Though it seems a bit clunky now compared to the clean, simple aesthetic of foursquare, your business absolutely must have a Facebook page.  And remember, don’t get tunnel vision on simply accumulating “likes” for your page.  That raw number is meaningless if you aren’t empowering site users to champion your business on their own.  Engage in interesting dialogue with these users and you’ll get tremendous mileage from the interaction.  This is just one way to leverage your new army of fans.

Blog at least every couple weeks.  Don’t just sit back and smile at the witty blog entry you wrote about the upcoming city festival, concert, or whatever else is about to put your area in the spotlight.  Write and publish to your business blog frequently, as it communicates to customers and clients that you care about your business’s image, down to all the small details.  Also, take advantage of basic search engine optimization tactics to make your blog (and by extension your business’s website) the go-to source for relevant travel-related inquiries.