How To Create The Perfect Foursquare List

Elliot Pearson was recently featured on Foursquare’s Follow Friday for his list of London’s indepdendent coffee shops. Here, he shares his advice on how to make the perfect Foursquare List.

The much-requested list feature is now rolled out across the Foursquare platform and has opened up much of what Foursquare aims to encourage and provide. While there are many uses for which this feature excels, from recommending places you’ve visited to friends right through to ordered guided tours and treasure hunts, it is easy to neglect key aspects that make a list a worthwhile experience for those following it, depending on what purpose the list aims to serve.

Focused Recommendations For Convenience
Followers want the convenience of having a ready-made list of places they can turn to in day-to-day situations without having to search a multitude of apps or browser pages. The beauty of geo-location services means that a number of steps can be removed in between a need surfacing, locating and gaining directions to, and finally arriving at, a suitable venue to satiate that need. For this they need lists that are comprehensive enough, yet sufficiently focussed, that they can be anywhere in their area and still be within a reasonable distance of a recommended venue that helps with what they are looking for. Too many inappropriate venues and they’re straight back to searching and sifting.

Lists as a guide book
Covering a specific area, whether a neighbourhood, city or country, can serve as a great way to help people visiting make the most of the time when they arrive. These guides can often be more general than those mentioned above, as the length of time they are required is limited to the duration of the visit. Rather than information that needs to stay fresh with day-to-day options, it is more useful as a single reference point for everything that person may require while they are there. Including in a list the key places of interest (with a tip explaining the background of why it is of interest, or indeed an unknown fact that other guides may not cover), recommended places to eat and drink, as well as key transport links or information points, helps the user to feel they can turn to it for any eventuality as they would if they were walking around with a local.

Use your expertise
It is surprisingly easy to tell when a list is constructed by someone with a passion for what they are listing. Rather than merely populating a list with various places from the local vicinity, users want venues recommended by someone who knows a sufficient amount to be able to hand-pick the right places, and Foursquare acts as a replacement for a word of mouth recommendation from a local who knows. If someone has turned to a Foursquare list, they are looking to find what they would not normally have found or considered alone, so a list of preferred local restaurants populated with fast food chains is somewhat defeating the object. With Foursquare’s inclusion of expertise levels on badges, list authors are accredited to some extent by proof of their experience of a sufficient number of places within a category.

That extra insider guide
Foursquare is built around the premise of discovery, and regular users are often looking for those hidden gems that are either worthy of being an ‘off-the-beaten-path’ destination, or highlight undiscovered treasures that they may pass every day. People have always found pleasure in visiting places that the masses are unaware of, so helping people discover such locations adds an extra edge to your lists. This can range from a lesser-known but trendy nightlife spot, to a point of interesting local history, or tucked away art exhibit.

Additional Insight
Filling your list with photos and tips from each venue fleshes out what is otherwise a nondescript list of locations and businesses. It gives you a chance to add character and personality to your list, and using your aforementioned specialist knowledge can enhance the experience for users. The Foursquare tips system is increasingly meritocratic, based on a person’s expertise level of the category of venue to which they are leaving the tip. With higher expertise levels you’ll find your tips prioritised on venue pages, which in turn increases awareness of yourself and your list. Always be aware that tips ‘done’ by users increases the priority of the tip, so make it worthwhile for people to acknowledge.

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