In a move that should’ve come long ago, location-based app leader Foursquare has opened the floodgates for brands to create their own pages on the service. Using, shall we say, an office admin account, it was easy to set up our page by linking it to our Twitter account.
From there, to meet the requirements for inclusion on Foursquare’s Page Gallery, I added a banner, wrote a few tips and it was set up in no time.
As of this posting, we’ve yet to show up on the gallery page. However, a lot of brands are there and more are certainly being added by the minute. But, why? Will Foursquare pages become a new go-to for major brands?
The answer, I think, is maybe. There’s certainly value here, as demonstrated by some of the brands that have piloted this program over the past year or so, such as The New York Times, Tiffany & Co., Starbucks and Bravo. MTV has used theirs as a brand tie-in for the Jersey Shore, complete with its own badge.
But there’s also tremendous opportunity for spam. If you use Foursquare, you’ve already seen brands signing up as people, even brick-and-mortars, which I don’t understand. From a “checking-in” standpoint, it is absolutely ridiculous to think that the sandwich shop around the corner or the major research university nearby is “following” you or stopping in at the local watering hole.
What makes a lot of sense, however, is for organizations that travel from event to event, like our local SPCA, or businesses that frequently operate in multiple locations (hello, food trucks) to use this new offering to share with their peregrinations with interested parties, without violating the terms of service or common sense.
What is likely even more important about this change is that Foursquare is looking for more content providers. They want more people to make notes and give tips for the locations that they index, so they can pitch their value to potential advertisers and partners. Requiring brands to make five recommendations in order to be listed in their gallery will lead to an explosion of content.
All in all, I think this is a welcome change and opportunity. But like everything else, it has to be done right. Rush out and sign up your brand today, but make sure you have a plan on how you want to use it. As always, that’s the only way to truly and effectively get the most out of your social media tools.