Throughout the panel, we had the pleasure of hearing from Tracey, Support Director at foursquare. Towards the end, she spoke on foursquare’s ambassador programs, and briefly mentioned the Campus Ambassador program, which foursquare transitioned from. I was actually a foursquare ambassador before they ended the program, and looking back, realize how healthy and thriving of a community that was. In speaking about the superuser user, she spoke about how excited they were to sort of “own” a part of foursquare. I’d say that that was generally the feeling among the campus ambassadors, and while I’m sad our community has been shut down, I’m glad that it served as a great model for lessons learned.
- Use the right platform – Our community was hosted on Facebook, which was great. Since we were all undergraduate college students, we all had Facebook accounts that we were very active on. It definitely boosts participation when notifications about activity are already embedded into your daily life.
Make them feel special – We had an application process to become a campus ambassador. I’m not sure how competitive it was, but once you got in, you got a box of swag, including an official foursquare campus ambassador t-shirt and lots of stickers. The official shirt definitely made me feel like I was important to foursquare, which is important for an ambassador. I also had the opportunity to meet Dennis Crowley (SU alum!) when he came to campus as a result of being an ambassador, which was an awesome experience.
- Give them tasks – The campus ambassador team would give us tasks occasionally, like putting up window clings, or hosting an event for Foursquare Day. This definitely made the entire experience more structured, and ensured that we were having a real impact on campus.
- Let them learn from each other – A lot of the posts on the page were not from foursquare staff, but rather other ambassadors showing off the cool stuff they were doing on campus. This helped other ambassadors see the creative ways other people were using the platform, and also made the person posting feel that their efforts were being recognized.
Be helpful – Whenever we posted, Ray, the foursquare guy, always answered within five minutes. One time the SU team was doing something that required a venue being opened right at 10am on a Sunday morning. Ray was there for us. When you have a dedicated community manager who is willing to go the extra mile for ambassadors, all the better.
Eventually foursquare transitioned off the program without much warning– there was never any closure on group, and some ambassadors recently expressed disappointment that there was no real ending. While the closing out of this community could have been handled better, I think the real mark of a thriving community is when members are genuinely upset that it’s over. Thanks to all the panelists for the time and input on community management!