There’s more to location-based networks than simply checking in to a physical location.

Even if your brand doesn’t have a central location, or any location at all, you can still reap the benefits of a social network like Foursquare.

Major media outlets such as television and magazines have rushed to Foursquare — Bravo, MTV, and People, to name a few.

Instead of focusing on user check-ins, these brands focus on supplying tips relevant to the products they market like TV shows, or complementary content in the spirit of those brands like restaurant tips from Food Network.

Creating a Foursquare Brand Page

The first step to getting your brand on Foursquare is creating a basic Foursquare account.

Once you’ve got a regular account activated, you’ll have to contact Foursquare directly to make the change to a brand-focused page. Currently this process is quite manual; there is no online form for this step.

To get started, you’ll need to check out the Foursquare for business page and navigate to the Brands section.

Next, click on the “Creating a Page” tab.

How to Use Foursquare for Brands

In the copy, you’ll find a link to the form you need. You’ll be prompted to download an Excel document in which you’ll have to provide the following information to Foursquare: user ID, information about your brand, Twitter and Facebook links and your website’s URL

The other step in this process requires some graphic design.

Along with your completed form, you’ll also need to email Foursquare a banner and a user photo for your fan page. All the image requirements for the design elements are described in the downloaded Excel file.

When the form is filled out and design requirements are finished, email all the assets to the Partners email address — also in the form. Foursquare should make the change to your account within two weeks.

How to Add Tips for Your Brand Page

Even though your brand may not have a location to call its own, your Tips are tied to locations. For example, if your brand is a newspaper and one of your columnists writes about nightlife in your city, you can derive Tips from that content and add them to Foursquare with a link back to the article.

In order to add a Tip, you first have to find the location your Tip is about via Foursquare’s search at the top of the page. The search results page will allow you to change the city you’re searching in if you are adding Tips across multiple locations.

How to Use Foursquare for BrandsClick on the location where you want to add a Tip.

The venue page has the name of the business, its location, a map, the Mayor, photos, and a list of Tips.

At the top of the list is a text box which allows you to enter your Tip for this venue.

Getting Followers

When you’re starting fresh on any social network, a little marketing is required to let people know you’re in a new space.

Leverage existing tools in your arsenal: your own blog, website, other social networks, and so on. That being said, you have to do some following to get followers.

Foursquare offers some standard tools for you to find existing friends via other networks: Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Yahoo!, and other email. Navigate to “Friends” in the main navigation and click on the large, green “Find New Friends” button at the top right of the page.

How to Use Foursquare for Brands

The search tool featured throughout the site is another way to find and follow people who may be relevant to your brand. For example, if you sell coffee makers, try searching for “coffee.” You’ll find relevant Venues, Tips, People and Tags, and you can search by city to further refine.

Creating Custom Foursquare Badges

How to Use Foursquare for BrandsA significant part of the Foursquare experience is collecting Badges, but it takes more than a marketing budget to get a Badge on the social network.

Foursquare is currently only partnering with some brands, and these brands have to pitch an ideal Badge experience.

Should you meet Foursquare’s requirements, the minimum commitment for a Badge is three months at $25,000 per month.

Currently Foursquare is getting a lot of requests for this product, and all Badge submissions are being reviewed by Foursquare’s Product Team. You’ll have to fill out a form (available on the business page) to pitch your idea.

Foursquare is looking for Badges that are widely available (across the US and worldwide), have a story arc or a journey associated with earning them, and are un-lockable by a wide audience.

Have You Been Using Foursquare to Market Your Brand?

We’d love to hear your brand’s success stories. If you have additional recommendations on making Foursquare work for your brand, please share.

[Image credit: Nan Palmero]