Facebook Places for Business – Getting Started
On August 18th, Facebook launched “Facebook Places: Who. What. When. And now where.”
So, now what? Here’s some easy steps on how to set up your company Facebook Place, claim it and what it means for marketing.
Claiming Your Business
Your business may already be listed on Facebook Places. To search for your “place” use either the Facebook search bar from your computer, or select Places from your iPhone (or a device that can load touch.facebook.com), while at your business location. If your business does not come up in the search, you can add it via the “Add” or the “+” sign links (depending on whether you are using an iPhone or Facebook Touch).
The next step is to claim your Place. To claim your business and verify that you are the business owner or operator, Facebook calls the number listed and gives you a 4-digit code to enter after receiving the call. The same process that Yelp requires. This is a security precaution that ensures only the business owner has access to the Place’s page. Once you are verified, you are able to manage your location hours, contact information, avatar, and more. With the Place’s page, users can now see a map, directions and check-in features for your location.
Merging Places With Brand Pages
Facebook is allowing businesses with only one Facebook page and one location to merge your Facebook Places location with your company page. If your business has one physical location that is currently associated with a Facebook page, this makes sense for you.
Once you merge the two, your places enabled page will then have a different design to accomdate the new features of Places such as a map and checkin information. Any tabs, photos, videos, and events will remain as they did on your page before. Your customized URL and any Facebook ads you have running will also go untouched and continue to point to the new page.
All of the people who liked your Facebook page will now be connected to your place enabled page and you will still be able to interact with them.
Not all places will be able to merge immediately. So if you are not prompted by Facebook, continue to manage your page and place separately for now.
“Once Facebook Places incorporates enough Foursquare-like features — and it will — Foursquare users will start abandoning the service in droves to take advantage of the expansive network they’ve already built on Facebook and the ease of managing multiple services from one social networking platform. Then there are those folks who have never previously used a location-based check-in service who will undoubtedly get in the game through Facebook Places.” via PCWorld
It’s a no brainer that companies extending specials on geolocation sites will seek to integrate Facebook Places deals for their patrons on their already established fan pages. Foursquare only just reached 2 million users on July 10, 2010, which is forgettable compared to Facebook’s 500 million users.
Although in the Facebook Places launch, Zuckerberg said,
“They’re focused on getting the three core elements right (finding friends, checking-in, building stories about places), but he can see things such as rewards or deals with locations/companies in the future.”
Facebook would have never even launched a service like Places, if it were not going to help their bottom line. No word yet on what the business dashboard will look like or if it will offer any unique features not offered by other geolocation services.
Imagine how powerful this tool can be to create even more tailored marketing campaigns to Facebook users. Now brands will know where they are frequenting, how often and their traffic patterns to/from the establishment.
Here is the official PDF from Facebook detailing Facebook Places for Businesses.
Will Facebook be able to make checking in go mainstream?