How Thrillist Topped 100k Foursquare Followers

Beyond Facebook and Twitter, brands and publishers are faced with an “is it worth it” problem with social platforms. Building an audience takes work, and content, and some newer platforms just aren’t the trouble when it comes down to it.

Some are finding success, however. On Foursquare, young men’s-focused newsletter Thrillist recently passed 100,000 followers. That’s a remarkable feat, considering Thrillist has barely a third as many Twitter followers and 94,000 Facebook likes. But, it turns out, location app Foursquare is ideal for a publication geared to hot places for young dudes.

“Foursquare was a perfect fit for Thrillist,” said John Wiseman, vp of marketing and partnerships for Thrillist, whose followers recently climbed north of the 100,000 mark making it the twenty-first most popular brand on the platform. “It’s a platform based on people going out and discovering their city, which is what Thrillist is all about. Thrillist is about finding the best new places in your city.”

Although it has a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and, as of this week, Instagram, Thrillist treats is Foursquare presence as an extension of its websites and daily emails. “When we’re writing about new bars and new restaurants and new clothing stores and different deals that you can get at each one of them, it ties very well to what Foursquare is all about,” said Wiseman.

Wiseman said that creating a successful Foursquare presence requires effort. Thrillist has a social media manager who curates its presence across social media platforms. The site has posted more than 1,100 tips for its followers since it began posting tips in January, 2010 some of which receive little or no interest from followers and some of which receive quite a lot. For the most part, tips are reflections of content that appears on Thrillist’s website.

Other brands that attract large numbers of Foursquare followers tend to offer some value-added content as a part of their tips. Mashable, the sixteenth most popular brand on the platform with more than 136,000 followers, identifies wi-fi hotspots for its followers. The Wall Street Journal, with more than 138,000 followers, tends towards tips about New York-area restaurants that have been reviewed in the paper.

Wiseman understands the attraction of value-added content coupled with the kinds of location-based, real time deals that Groupon Now offers. He says that Thrillist is toying with the idea of adding some version of Thrillist Rewards, its deals program, to its Foursquare page. For example, said Wiseman, one of Thrillist Rewards’ earliest offers was for an experience at Matsuri, a popular sushi restaurant in New York. Thrillist subscribers were offered an off-menu sushi tasting with sake pairings followed by a Samurai sword lesson. Wiseman said he could see posting a tip linking to Matsuri’s web page, where the offer would appear, but then taking the tip down once the offer had expired. Ordinarily, tips posted on brand pages are left up indefinitely.

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