FourSquare, the popular social check-in service has been a boon for many local businesses for some time. Local, brick-and-mortar establishments can post coupons and deals and have special rewards for those who check-in frequently. In addition, customer-generated “tips” help inform potential customers about what’s unique about the business.
Today FourSquare announced that it will be expanding availability of the Pages and Badges for Brands program it has been piloting with a limited number of large partner brands. Now any brand that may not be represented by actual physical locations can have a presence and influence on FourSquare. Brands can establish customized FourSquare Pages (similar to Facebook Pages) that provide a linkable “home base” where potential fans can be directed. Visitors to the page can become “followers” of the brand, giving them the ability to receive valuable “tips” from the brand. Tips can be planted in any location and become visible to fans when they are on FourSquare and nearby. For example,during the last Olympics, NBC Sports planted tips around Vancouver helping its followers to find the best things to see and do.
In addition, brands can create and award badges to followers. Badges have been the part of FourSquare that makes it like a game and keeps many users coming back. Users earn regular FourSquare badges by checking-in in certain patterns over time. The new Brand Badges program allows brands to reward followers with custom badges for completing certain tasks or objectives. For example. Zaggat awarded a badge to followers who checked-in at a certain number of top-rated restaurants.
For now, FourSquare Pages are available on an application-only basis, but FourSquare promises that they will soon be releasing a tool to allow brands to create their own Pages. For more information, see FourSquare Pages and Partner Badges.