lululemon : stepping it up on foursquare.

Later today (5.50pm Pacific) I’ll be talking Foursquare on Kelowna’s AM1150 with Jessica Samuels and Scott Davis of Culturactive. As part of my research I’ve been speaking with a few Foursquare users, some business owners and some marketing managers about their experiences with, and plans for, Foursquare.

lululemon’s Online Community Manager, Carloyn Coles is very enthused about the platform. lululemon certainly have big plans for Foursquare. To them it ain’t just a game…

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I understand lululemon has specific plans for Foursquare and considers it an important vehicle in lululemon’s social media marketing mix – can you expand on that.

Bringing online “offline” is at the heart of lululemon’s social media strategy, and Foursquare is a powerful tool that allows us to execute this strategy and to bring fun, engagement and excitement to the online activity of our guests.

Currently most of our store and showroom locations have been created as venues on Foursquare and there is tremendous growth in the number of lululemon mayors being crowned. This allows us to reach out and connect with this new community over Twitter and to build new relationships.

We also hope to increase internal company usage of the tool, which will allow employees and educators to speak to it powerfully, as well as create a larger network of lululemon venues and tips on Foursquare.

We plan on leveraging the nearby specials and tip options to introduce guests to the complimentary yoga and fitness classes offered by all of our stores.

Our goal is to integrate Foursquare into all of our online community projects in a meaningful and engaging way. Our focus is on elevating the level of conversation and engagement with our guests, and Foursquare helps us take this participation to a new level of social.

During the month of February we will be having five blog artists visit Vancouver and create a virtual tour / travel guide to the city. They will be using Foursquare to do this – introducing our guests to the places around Vancouver (lululemon’s birthplace) that we think are worth checking out. From yoga studios, to tea shops, to run trails, we will help connect our lululemon guest to the best places that Vancouver has to offer. We are leveraging the Foursquare API to share these interactions on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter; thereby introducing Foursquare and our participation on it, to a larger audience.

Are you a Foursquare user yourself? If so can you share a Foursquare story?

I sure am, and it’s already changed my life. The most powerful piece for me is the real world social interaction piece. It’s always exciting when you are at a venue and you see that someone else is checked in at the same time as you. I’ve had the opportunity on a number of occasions to spark up conversations with random strangers who are checked at the same place as I am. This truly speaks to the heart of the tool – bringing online offline.

Additionally, at our lululemon head office we have quite the race on. I’m currently the mayor of the office, and my coworkers are checking in early, checking in frequently and doing everything in their power to oust me as mayor. I’d have to say it creates quite a good sense of competition. We have been leaving fun tips all over our office, and as strange as it might sound, the internal communication and sense of office camaraderie has increased! Here’s our head office venue.

Lastly, I’ve discovered a whole new side of my city. I had no idea that so many cool things existed within blocks from my usual stomping grounds, and an entirely new version of Vancouver has been opened up for me. I hope that with the use of tips and nearby specials for our lululemon stores we can do this for a whole other set of users.

In fact – a good friend just checked into the restaurant across the street from my house – an Impromptu dinner may be coming up!

Why should consumers and businesses pay attention to Foursquare.

Foursquare allows companies to bring the online world offline. It gives an added experience to guests and allows them to interact with the brand. Foursquare nearby specials help bring brand awareness to potential new guests, and the “mayor” concept helps create a healthy sense of competition and loyalist behavior.

Any other aspects of social media marketing that you see as growing in importance to lululemon (apart from Facebook, Twitter & Foursquare).

Hyperlocal is going to be an important focus for lululemon in the next year. We truly want our guests to connect online with their local stores. While we have a strong presence as a brand online, we empower our local stores to run localized social media efforts. With decentralized online community conversations we allow our guests to connect with the local events, people, and stories that matter the most to them. The guest experience becomes far more engaging, valuable, and fun! It’s also far easier to truly bring that online experience offline.

Additionally, I see our guests expecting far more out of us online that I even could have imagined in this space a year ago. We are seeing thousands of interactions on our main Facebook page weekly, with guests expecting rapid responses and access to timely education. I see having a team trained and excited to respond to those online conversations very important and the connection between social media and guest experience more and more closely linked.

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This really is intriguing information. As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog Foursquare seems to have that magic mix for social media : Fun + Simplicity + Value = Success. I certainly see it as having great potential and believe it’s growth will massively outstrip it’s competition in 2010. Foursquare’s adoption as a strategic platform by leading retailers is essential to it’s ambition to become the number one location-based social networking platform. lululemon is publicly listed, international and growing. Foursquare will be delighted at their plans for the platform.

Many thanks to Carolyn and to Lindsay at lululemon’s PR department for their contributions and assistance.

To contact the author of this post please see this page or just message me on Twitter (@rtstrategy).

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