Getting Your Nonprofit on the Map With Google Places, Foursquare, Yelp and Trip Advisor

by Carol Buckheit on April 16, 2012

Picture this:  A national medical society is hosting their annual convention in your city next week. The conventioneers want to visit local attractions during their down time, so they they look up recommendations on popular travel and review apps like Trip Advisor,  Google Maps, Yelp, and Foursquare. Your organization is one of the major cultural centers in town.

Based on the reviews, would the conventioneers visit you? Did you know that, to some degree, you can control the information listed about you on those sites?

Aware of the power of location-based tools and the ever-growing popularity of global positioning systems (GPS) and smartphones, savvy nonprofit marketeers are attracting visitors by smartly managing their profiles on Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare and Trip Advisor to maximize the appeal of their venues.

If visitors are the lifeblood of your organization (listen up museums, park and rec centers, faith communities, performance art spaces, hospitals, schools) then you need to take charge of your profile on the major placed-based tools. Here’s how to start:

1. Search for your listing on Google Maps, Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Foursquare and see what folks are saying about you.

2. “Claim” your venue by verifying that you are the administrator of that place.  Claiming your venue allows you to manage the online profile of your venue.

3. On to the important stuff: enhance your venue’s profile with a brief compelling description, add photos and a link to your website, and (with Foursquare) add a special that may entice visitors to stop in. As the manager of a Trip Advisor profile, you also can respond (publicly) to any negative comments.

Check out the Hartford Stage Company (above right).  They’ve claimed their business listing on Trip Advisor, and have enhanced their profile with a description about their theater.

They’ve even added clickable links from their home page to Yelp and Trip Advisor so folks can check out their reviews.

Hartford Stage Trip Advisor and Yelp

I think the Brooklyn Museum is among the best arts organizations around using social media to grow their legions of patrons. Below is their Foursquare profile. They’ve added lots of photos and a Mayor’s Special for the patron who attends their First Saturday event. (A “Mayor” of a venue on Foursquare has checked in the most to that venue.) Note that they’ve had over 15,000 check-ins by patrons using Foursquare.

Brooklyn Museum Foursquare

The Connecticut Historical Society has claimed their venue on Google Places, and below is their enhanced listing, complete with beautiful photos, description, visitor information, hours of operation, and website link. Nice.

Ct Historical Society Google Places

Ready to get started?

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