Foursquare Launches Business Pages for Small Businesses and Brands

by Kipp Bodnar

Date

January 11, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Today, location-based social network Foursquare launched business pages for brick-and-mortar small businesses as well as for large brands who may not have a store-front but want to engage Foursquare's userbase. This launch is a big step forward for Foursquare, which previously had little in place to help businesses market to users of its platform.

Let's take a quick look at what is available to small business owners and larger brands.

Foursquare Business Pages for Venue Owners

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For a business that has a physical location, Foursquare has opened up new marketing opportunities on its platform and compiled a three-step quick-start guide. Venue owners should first claim a business location, then create a special for users who check in, and finally analyze data from their Foursquare campaigns to generate maximum foot traffic. A Foursquare special is traditionally some type of discount at a specific location. For example, a retail store may offer a 10 percent discount on one item if a person checks into their location on Foursquare.  The idea behind specials on Foursquare is to create an other that makes people want to check-in, so that your business will be exposed to that person's Foursquare friends.

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In addition to allowing businesses with retail locations to run campaigns, Foursquare is also providing eduction on their platform to business as seen in the image above. However, the analytics provided to venue owners might be the most interesting piece of the entire offering. Among some of the data provided you can find total daily check-ins over time, repeat and unique customers and time of day of check-ins.

The bottom line is that if you are a venue owner, you should at least claim your venue , and consider offering a special.

Foursquare Business Pages for Brands

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From the early days of its service Foursquare worked with major brands that did not have a physical location to create customer badges and other campaigns. Today, brands have specific opportunities to leverage the Foursquare community for marketing. Foursquare is going to continue to do what they call Partner Badges, a paid sponsorship that results in a custom badge related to a brand that Foursquare members can unlock after checking-in at specific location.

Additionally, with this launch, Foursquare is allowing businesses without retail locations to create a page on Foursquare . The page contains the business logo, tips that the business as left at Foursquare venues, the option to follow that business on Foursquare. The page also includes links to that businesses profile on other social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, Foursquare has not yet launched a web-based tool for creating your page, so currently businesses must complete a form and submit it to Foursquare . On its website, Foursquare notes that it could take as long as 2 weeks for a page to be completed, once a form is submitted.

Marketing Takeaway

Location-based social networks are still developing, but have gained a critical mass in some markets. Examine the Foursquare community in the geography of your target market and determine if your business should leverage one of Foursquare's new features for businesses. However, if your are a retail business, you should claim your venue now to protect your brand, even if you are not planning on using Foursquare for marketing at this time.

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