Foursquare is big in New York, San Francisco, and Japan. But will it play in Peoria? A new feature suggests the check-in startup is attempting to win the hearts of the Pinterest crowd. Foursquare just rolled out a change to brand pages last night that makes it easier for venues, merchants and brands with multiple locations to connect all their franchises together, reports Foursquare historian Chris Thompson over at About Foursquare.
Big box community managers, rejoice! Foursquare wants both mainstreamers and the big brands who serve them to feel comfy on Foursquare. Mayoral candidates who check into a particular 7-11, Starbucks, Barnes & Noble and the like can now see a map showing all the nearby branches and which of their friends have recently checked in. The feature works for college buildings as well.
“Brand pages were once recommended mainly for companies that didn’t have physical locations, but they’ve become more and more common for chains,” Mr. Thompson writes. “With these new features, they’re now a must, since they really tie all of a company’s venues together.”
The move comes as Foursquare pushes its “explore” feature on the web, an easy-to-use recommendation tool that pops up lunch spots, coffee shops and stores according to a user’s location, the time of day, and, if a user is logged in, their friends’ check-in habits. Unlike the creepy check-in, anyone can see the value in “explore”—it’s like a more urgent Yelp search.
Foursquare’s 15 million-some users include power players like Mr. Thompson, who lives in the middle of the country where he is mayor of Chipotle, as well as geeky early adopters and a sizable overseas following. But Foursquare has yet to capture the hearts and minds of the People of Walmart. The “explore” campaign and the new brand pages foreshadow Foursquare’s attempt to bridge the gap to the mainstream. Hopefully co-founders Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai will do another Gap ad to mark that occasion.