Are you on foursquare? (Yes, it’s spelled with all lowercase letters.) Anyway, foursquare is getting to be more of a mainstream social app with each passing day. Launched in early 2009, foursquare now boasts an impressive 20 million members worldwide, with over 2 billion total check-ins and millions more added daily.
For those of you who aren’t among the 20 million foursquare users, the folks behind the concept describe it like this:
foursquare makes the real world easier to use. We build tools that help you keep up with friends, discover what’s nearby, save money and unlock deals. Whether you’re setting off on a trip around the world, coordinating a night out with friends, or trying to pick out the best dish at your local restaurant, foursquare is the perfect companion.
With the emphasis on the convergence of mobile + local + social, foursquare is perfectly positioned to be one of the leaders in this dynamic category and that can mean great things for your brand, if you’re playing along.
Let me first note that this article is not about setting up check-in specials or promotions on foursquare. Rather, I want to briefly cover the importance of having a brand presence on the platform and what that can do for you.
It’s super easy to set up a brand page. Simply go to the foursquare Pages, eh … page to get started. Here’s how the foursquare folks explain the idea behind Pages:
Want to reach your fans on foursquare? That’s why we built Pages, a free way to leave your mark in foursquare. Pages are your easy-to-build homepage on foursquare. Your fans can “follow” your Page (similar to on Twitter), and our 20,000,000 strong community can see your tips when they’re out exploring.
After getting established, make sure you’ve uploaded a nice banner graphic (like we did) and profile image to go along with your compelling page description text. It is compelling, right?
Okay, so you’re set up. Now what? Start leaving tips! Tips are short messages about things you’d recommend to others, about a particular venue. They can be as simple as, “Try the California double-triple cheeseburger with extra cheese and sweet potato waffle fries!” or something more along the lines of, “Keep away from this place. The rent is too damn high!”
In other words, tips allow you to suggest things that may be of interest to someone who has just checked in at a venue or is planning to do so. With a little effort, you can leave tips on as many venues in your community as you’d like, which would not only help people but would also create top-of-mind awareness among all who read the tips.
But be careful! The worst thing you could do is try to promote yourself or your brand in a tip. There’s one real estate agent around here who is notorious for doing this. He’s constantly leaving the same “tip” on every venue he can find. Something like, “Are you looking to buy or sell your home? Call me at….”
Yeah, I really don’t want to see this when checking in to the local Starbucks. I can’t say it enough: Keep your tips relevant to the venue and useful to the average visitor. If you’re leaving a tip at a restaurant, say something about the food. If it’s a mall, mention some great shops. People also love to hear interesting facts and tidbits about a place, so if you have any trivia to share, go ahead.
To leave a tip, first make sure you are “acting as” your page. Then, click on the Explore tab at the top. Next, simply search for a specific venue or browse by a category. Once you’re on the page, start typing your tip and submit! It couldn’t be easier.
This type of marketing is very indirect. After all, you’re not going to get a direct sale from leaving a tip on a foursquare venue, but what you are doing is building brand recognition within your community, while at the same time positioning yourself as an expert.
It’s not rocket science, so don’t overthink it. Instead, get out there, set up your business page and start leaving useful tips within your area and of course, have fun!