Since its inception a few years ago, Foursquare has been growing at a steady clip and brands like Starbucks, The History Channel, CNN, Walgreens and many others have been experimenting with the platform. They boast about 10 million users that are actively “checking-in” to locations at a clip of 3 million times each day. Some brands have partnered with Foursquare to create custom badges to award users and others have offered specials and discounts to those that check-in at their locations while others are offering discounts and special offers to those that check-in using the service when they visit their locations.
Previously exclusive to a handful of brands, you can now create a page to interact with fans & customers as they explore the world around them. The free service recently announced on the Foursquare blog is probably the easiest way for brands to take advantage of the ever more popular platform.
Quickly, for those of you that are new to Foursquare, here is a quick description straight from Foursquare’s web site:
Foursquare is a location-based mobile platform that makes cities easier to use and more interesting to explore. By “checking in” via a smartphone app or SMS, users share their location with friends while collecting points and virtual badges. Foursquare guides real-world experiences by allowing users to bookmark information about venues that they want to visit and surfacing relevant suggestions about nearby venues.
Now back to Foursquare pages. Getting started is straight forward and is pretty clearly described on Foursquare once you get going. Your Foursquare page is a place for you to leave “tips” on behalf of your brand or organization. In their “Best Practices for Tips” this is how they describe tips…
“tips are about “going here, and doing this” – they are focused on providing relevant information about a location that someone can accomplish while they are there”.
Ready to get started? First, here are a few of my own tips to think about when creating and using your Foursquare page:
- Read the Guides: Foursquare has provided a basic guide to help businesses through the process of creating and managing pages. You can find it here. Give it a read before you start.
- Look for Examples in the Page Gallery: After a page is created, Foursquare adds it to their gallery. Before getting started, you might find some inspiration by checking out some of the thousands of pages that have already been created. Pay attention to the graphics and the tips they leave. You might find some interesting ideas that you can use for your own page.
- Twitter Dependent: Foursquare requires that you authorize and connect a Twitter account to it in order to create the pages. If you are already using a personal Twitter account on Foursquare then pay close attention to which account Foursquare thinks you are trying to create a page for. You will likely need to sign out of any personal Twitter accounts (unless you are a personal brand of course) and sign into Twitter with your brands username and password before starting to set up your page. Keep in mind also that your Foursquare page URL uses your Twitter name. For example: www.foursquare.com/yourtwittername. For some, this may affect the Twitter username you associate with your page.
- Use Images: You can upload a small image to associate with each tip that you leave at a location. Images are a great way to draw people’s attention and make your message stand out when used appropriately. I recommend uploading an image that is related to something specific within the tip. For example: Scanwiches is devoted to sharing their love of sandwiches from various eateries near New York. With each tip they add an image of the sandwich they are recommending at many of their local sandwich shops. In another example: imagine your favorite TV show is filmed in Hawaii (I’m a huge Lost fan). It would be great to learn about the various locations that some of my favorite scenes were filmed. Each tips could include an image of the scene shot at that location. See how this could extend the experience around your brand? How can you add an image to your tips to make them even more engaging and special?
- Complete Your Profile: Think of Foursquare pages as another place for people to discover you and engage with you. Before diving in and leaving tips you should add all of the relevant images and information to your profile you can. This includes a large banner that appears on your page at Foursquare.com, your logo and links to your website, blog or social accounts. As with other social profiles, Foursquare pages are bound to show up in search results right along with your web site when people are searching for your brand directly. Welcome them with a complete profile.
- Connect to Facebook: It’s really great that Foursquare is has this feature from the get go. You can connect your Foursquare page to your Facebook page for cross posting. When you leave a tip on Foursquare it will post them over on Facebook. This is a great fodder for your Facebook page and will likely attract many of your Facebook fans to follow your new Foursquare page.
- Share the Responsibility: Rather than taking on all of the responsibility of managing your Foursquare page by yourself you can add another person to the account to contribute, manage and monitor the page. You can add someone using their Twitter name, email, phone number or Foursquare user ID.
- Show Your Page: In order to make your tips visible Foursquare users will have to go to your page and click “Follow”. Now that your page is ready and you have added a few tips, it’s time to share it with people. Add a link directly to your Foursquare page anywhere that you link to your social profiles like your blog, web site, or Facebook page. In the future Foursquare will likely make it easy for you to add your Foursquare “follow” button to your web site so visitors can click and instantly follow you, but until then folks will have to visit your page. Also display your easy to read/remember Foursquare URL on signage, in ads, business cards, brochures, etc.
I see a lot of promise with Foursquare pages. There are a lot of creative ways that brands can utilize tips to drive foot traffic and increase brand awareness.What interesting tips could you leave for your audience that would enhance their experience with the world around them? How do you think you might be able to use a Foursquare page to extend your brand? Tell us in the comments.
- Setting Your Business Up On FourSquare (businessinsider.com)
- How to: Set up a Foursquare brand page | Reconcile data from different analytical tools (marketingvox.com)
- Foursquare Revamps Brand Pages: Now Do-It-Yourself (readwriteweb.com)
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