If you think location-based marketing is only for brick-and-mortar businesses, think again. Earlier this week, Foursquare announced a new “do it yourself” version of their brand pages, which allow businesses not tied to a physical location to create branded profiles and share tips.
Brand pages have been around for a while, but the annoying application process has kept a lot of businesses from participating up until now. Companies previously filled out an application, submitted graphics, and waited for approval before Foursquare would build the brand page. When I set up a page for a client a few months ago, it took 3 weeks of emails with Foursquare to get it up and running. Setting up a brand page now takes 10 minutes (for real). I expect smaller businesses to start building these out now that the process is so easy.
Branded Foursquare pages are especially popular among publications, blogs and TV networks or shows, or those that want to curate tips for visitors, like universities, museums, or even cities. With brand pages, businesses can share knowledge with followers through tips (like permanent status updates or tweets tied to venues) and extend brand awareness through both cyber/mobile space and the real world.
Below are a few examples of how brands without physical locations are using brand pages…
When someone checks in at a venue, they can read through the tips others have left there and click “I’ve done this!” if they like the tip. Tips are ranked by popularity, so the goal is to leave tips many people will find useful. When someone is following a brand page, that brand’s tips will automatically pop up when they check in at a venue where the brand left a tip (regardless of popularity).
Tips can be insider info (like secret items not on the menu at a restaurant), where to park, the best times to visit a venue, or even trivial or historical info about a place. Remember, tips are about sharing expertise, not acting spammy and pitching your brand.
- Windows Live Photo Gallery gives tips for the best photo ops in cities around the U.S.
- Sports Authority has many physical locations where it offers deals, but also leaves tips at gyms, sports arenas and parks.
- NASA leaves tips at museums, aquariums, observatories and other educational points of interest.
- Redbull tips off followers about airports that have Redbull vending machines.
Brands can partner with Foursquare to create custom badges for checking in at certain types of locations, or a combination of locations, that are relevant to the brand. You can see how to get a custom badge approved in this article .
- The historian badge is earned by checking in at two History Channel-approved attractions.
- Zagat offers followers a foodie badge for five checkins to Zagat-rated venues.
- MTV’s Foursquare followers can earn the Jersey Shore “GTL badge” by checking in to a gym, tanning place or beach, and laundry in the course of a week.
Create Your Own Brand Page
1. Login to your personal Twitter account, then click here (Note: your brand needs a Twitter account in order to create a page. Your Foursquare page name will match your Twitter handle.).
2. Go to Page Management at the top of the dashboard. Click “Act As” to use Foursquare as your brand page (this is similar to switching between personal profiles and pages on Facebook).
3. Fill out your page’s profile, then upload a profile picture and banner (860 x 130 pixels).
5. Search for venues related to your business and start leaving tips (you will need to add 5 tips before your page is considered complete and can be featured in the Page Gallery).
5. If you’d like multiple managers for your page, you can give other users admin access.
If any of the above makes sense for your biz, I advise getting in while the getting is good. Given the limited number of brands on Foursquare compared to other major networks, now is a smart time to join since pages are featured in the Page Gallery (free exposure, woot!). Peruse the gallery for examples of brands already using Foursquare pages to see how the big brands in your industry already use Foursquare.
What are some other ways businesses without storefronts can use location-based marketing? Please share any cool uses of Foursquare brand pages you’ve seen in the comments below.