4Square for Books

Since I’m on a social network binge lately, I thought I might as well include FourSquare.com and how I use it to market my projects.

FourSquare is a location-based social network, similar to Facebook Places. When you are at a restaurant, movie, boutique, etc., you can “check in” and broadcast your location to your friends. I know, I know, the mother in me is screaming, “Why in the world would you tell the world where you are? Stalkers might come grab you! Robbers will know you’re not at home!”

I totally agree with these warnings; however, a robber could sit outside my house and watch me leave without checking FourSquare, and a stalker could definitely find out where I am using plenty of other technologies… so, as long as I use my check-ins sensibly, then I am probably not taking any undue risks.

Check-In Tips

1) Unless I am being paid to tweet for an event, I usually check-in when I am on my way out – that way I am long gone before any stalker might arrive! Haha

2) I only check-in at notable places that might interest my followers. Islands of Avdenture or the University of Florida, yes. My nephew’s basketball game, not so much.

3) I always look for discounts or specials offered by the establishment when checking in. For example, Chili’s gives free chips and salsa just for checking in. Nice! Remember, though, my check-in is free marketing for them after all, because not only is it going out to my 850+ FourSquare friends but also out to my nearly 4,000 Twitter followers.

4) Tie your FourSquare account to your Twitter account (and Facebook if you’d like).

Marketing My Books

FourSquare allows for a user to leave a tip for others at different locations. So, since my new novel Beware the Ex-Varto is set here locally in Winter Park, Florida, I have started leaving tips that tie in to scenes in the book.

For example, when a person “checks in” in somewhere on Park Ave., a tip might pop up like this:

“Since you are so close, why don’t you check out Palmano’s to see where Holiday Shakespeare likes to have her morning coffee. Read about her on Amazon.com, Beware the Ex-Varto.”

And, just like I created a separate Facebook,  Twitter, and Pinterest account for my book’s main character (Yeah, I really did!), Holiday Shakespeare also has her own FourSquare account and “checks in” places around town.

When I was the editor of the Central Florida Top 5 blog, I did a lot of marketing this way, and I had plenty of first-time readers let me know they found me from a FourSquare.com tip.

Do you use a location-based social network? Are you on FourSquare? If so, you can add me as a friend!