Foursquare today launched their new automated brand tool. It replaces the old manual process for creating a brand page with a sleek new process that allows brands to sign up within a matter of minutes and offers a number of other new features for brands, including Facebook page integration and new ways to check in to locations.
Brand pages â€” which currently number around 2,500 â€” are expected to skyrocket now that the process is simpler and doesn’t require foursquare approval. Here’s your guide to everything there is to know about brand pages.
Who should create a brand page?
Anyone can create a brand page. Many of the largest businesses already have them, but now they’re open to small businesses and even blogs. Here are a few ideas for ways to use a brand page:
- Local food blog: leave tips pointing users to your favorite dish and use the more info link to point users to your full review of the restaurant.
- Small business: point your customers to other local businesses they should check out after they visit your store. Maybe it’s your favorite coffee shop or a super lunch deal at a nearby restaurant.
- Photographer: leave tips at places where you’ve taken pictures before, telling users how to find the perfect angle for a skyline shot or little details to be on the lookout for. Use the more info link to point them to photos you’ve taken there.
Those are just a few examples of uses. Brand pages can really be used by anyone â€” person, business or blog â€” to add location-specific content for foursquare users to enjoy and associate with your business.
Who shouldn’t create a brand page?
Pages aren’t designed for individual users. No matter how much you want to have followers, there are a lot of drawbacks that make pages unusable for regular users, they include:
- Friends become followers: All of your friends are automatically converted to followers. That means when you pull up the friends tab, you won’t be able to see where they are and you won’t be able to comment on their checkins.
- No badges: Brand pages can’t earn badges, plain and simple.
- No privacy: All your checkins become public on your brand page and to any of your followers. Anyone will be able to look at your page at any time and see the most recent places you’ve visited.
That said, there’s no reason you shouldn’t create a foursquare page just for your blog, your business or your hobby.
How to create your brand page
Log in to your foursquare account or create one if you’re not already a member. Visit https://foursquare.com/create_page to get the process started. You’ll be asked to sign in with Twitter to create your page and lock in page’s username.
From here you’ll be directed to set up your page. Add your header image (860 x 130 pixels), small profile image (185 x 185 pixels), description and any links you want. You can also now link your foursquare page to a Facebook page you manage, so you’ll be able to share your checkins with your Facebook fans.
To be featured in the page gallery, you need to complete the above steps and add at least five tips for other users. You can add tips by clicking the “Page Management” link at the top of any foursquare screen and choosing the page you want to add tips for. Then simply visit any venue page and add a relevant tip (see below). Once you’re done that, go back to your Settings page and click the check box to have your page featured in the gallery.
Tips on Tips
Your goal is to write great tips so more users will click the “I’ve done this” button and it will move to the top of the venue page and in turn be seen by more users. That’s easier said than done. Here are a few tips for writing great, err, tips:
- Make your tips actionable: Use words like “do thisâ€¦” and “order thatâ€¦” Users are more likely to click “I’ve done this” on tips that include an action.
- Make your tips specific: Recommend one specific item or action. Don’t mix a bunch together in a single tip. Users won’t click “I’ve done this” if they’ve only done one third of your tip. It’s OK to leave multiple relevant tips at the same venue.
- Share insider information: The best tips are the ones that leave a little nugget that most users wouldn’t know about like a secret menu item or a less crowded bathroom hidden in the back.
- Use humor: foursquare users love tips that include a little bit of levity. It makes your brand look smart and hip, too.
- Don’t write reviews: Tips aren’t the place for reviews. They’re for providing specific tips and recommendations to other users. If your tip simply says “This place is great!” users won’t click the “I’ve done this button.”
- Don’t spam: Foursquare tips aren’t the place to post irrelevant tips that do nothing but refer users to your business. Users will report your tips to foursquare and they will be removed, so don’t waste your time.
- Don’t repeat your tips: Don’t add the same tip to every venue in town. It’s a form of spamming and will get your tips removed. Put a little thought into it and create fresh tips for each venue.
It’s not just foursquare users that get to check in to the places they go. Pages can get in on the action, too. There are two new ways to check in that are exclusively for pages:
- Mobile web: The foursquare.com/touch interface now allows brand pages to check in on the go. To get started, visit this page on your mobile phone (you’ll want to bookmark it) . Click the “act as” button to choose the page you’d like to check in as. Search for the nearby venue you’d like to check in to and click “check in.” You’ll then see a familiar box allowing you to add a shout and push your checkin to Twitter or Facebook.
- Website: It’s perfectly appropriate for pages to check in to places where their manager isn’t physically present. MTV, for example, might check in at their Video Music Awards while the page manager is at their offices in NY. For those reasons, pages can now check in from the web. When you’re acting as a page, you’ll see a new “Check in at this venue” link on each venue page. Click it to see options to shout and add a photo to your checkin.
Promote your page
Once you’ve stocked your page with a few tips, it’s time to start promoting it and gaining followers.
- Use your other social media channels like Twitter and Facebook to point your fans to the page and ask them to follow you.
- Put links in your email newsletters, email signatures, and websites.
- Include the foursquare logo anywhere you include the Facebook and Twitter logos, like signs, flyers and billboards. Your Twitter username and foursquare username are the same, so users will be able to find you easily.
- Use the “Save to foursquare” button to add your tips to any relative blog posts. If you’re a food blogger, for instance, include the button in your review with link to your tip at that restaurant. It makes it easy for users to add it to their to-do list and discover your foursquare page. You’ll find the embed code underneath the tip by clicking the “>” button.