social @ edu

Exploring strategies for social media in higher education

Guest Post: “Checking in” – Geolocation Social Networks at the NYU Wasserman Center

This week, we welcome another guest voice, Heather Tranen, Associate Director of Global Communications and Strategic Outreach at NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development.  Heather manages social media for the office and offers her thoughts on how a career center can implement Foursquare into their efforts.  To connect with Heather, check her out LinkedIn & Twitter.

Unlocking specials, checking in, and exploring businesses are all key components of Foursquare.  But how can they relate to career services? Geolocation social networks like Foursquare provide a plethora of ways to gather data, to engage employers, and to provide stakeholders with a dynamic experience at our career centers. Most recently, Foursquare incorporated ways that organizations can build a stronger brand presence. This allows an organization to expand its reach beyond those already checking in and engaged with their office. Here are a few ideas that we found successful at the NYU Wasserman Center to get you started with your own Foursquare account.

A screenshot of The NYU Wasserman Center on Foursquare

A screenshot of The NYU Wasserman Center on Foursquare – an example of using geolocation social networking in higher education.

Create a brand page. The new brand feature on Foursquare is awesome. Similar to Facebook, the platform attracts fans so that we can send them tips and updates. Through the brand page, we also bring together our different offices at NYU Poly and at NYU’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies as a “chain”. Having a chain gives us the opportunity to add either individualized, or comprehensive tips and updates for the different offices.

Get listed. Through the brand feature, you can create lists that act as “pocket guides” to students. For instance, we have lists of employers who are members of our Employer Partner program, and lists that show the closest places to print documents or materials. We also plan to roll out a list that shows places to go shopping for appropriate interview attire. Additionally, others also include us on their lists, such as the Essential NYU list. Being included in lists increases our brand presence beyond those who are already fans or checking in to our office.

Add tips and encourage others to do the same. Employers, students, and alumni coming to your office can leave tips viewable to those who check in after them. For instance, an employer could give an interview tip for students, or students can leave tips that help their peers plan effectively for an appointment with a career counselor.

Reward loyal users. Incentives for those checking in frequently provide an additional way to engage those who are actively using our career centers. We all know how much students love their free t-shirts and other university-related wares, and so our current special gives some of our “Wasserswag” to the mayor.

Implement employer-sponsored specials. When Macy’s co-sponsored a high profile program, we asked them to donate raffle prizes for students checking in via Foursquare. This is just one example of employer involvement in this process. Intangible rewards, such as an informational interview with a member of an organization could also be offered as incentives.

Measure your success. Foursquare offers in depth analytics. For us, this helps to see when the most unique users checked in, or if there are certain times more individuals are using the career center. For instance, we saw a huge spike in unique users during Macy’s co-sponsored event with the raffle special. Through these measurements, we are able to plan more intentionally.


As a large, urban university, Foursquare unites a campus that can sometimes feel decentralized and overwhelming. We are excited about implementing new initiatives through this platform! Through Foursquare, we can build our presence and encourage new students to engage with our office and to utilize our services.
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4 thoughts on “Guest Post: “Checking in” – Geolocation Social Networks at the NYU Wasserman Center

  1. I have long debated whether or not Foursquare is something we should add into the fold in our office, Heather. Thanks for sharing this – giving me lots more I can consider now!

  2. Great post, Heather, but I’m interested how does Foursquare adds or takes away from the student’s experience?

    Love to hear your thoughts, thanks!

  3. I love how Heather and NYU Wasserman are using Foursquare. I wonder if Bucknell is a bit too rural to fully be successful on Foursquare but that doesn’t mean I won’t archive these great ideas for the future.

  4. Great question! In my opinion, I think that it adds an additional component to the student experience. The great thing about Foursquare is that it is an online tool that also requires individuals to engage in physical space. They are encouraged through incentives to “check-in” virtually, but they are also actually coming to our center and utilizing the resources. The tips and lists tool also helps them get informed about our office and what we can offer them.

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