Facebook Places for Local Business Owners
Facebook places are a unique way for users to check-in to your business, and see which of their friends have checked-in, both now and in the past.
Places pages contain basic information about your business, and most importantly a map provided by Bing.
Using the places functionality on Facebook is a great way for savvy local business owners to make the most of online word of mouth marketing.
Here’s how to go ahead and start using Facebook Places for your local business.
If your location is already a ‘place’ on Facebook, you need to claim it.
Using the Facebook search function, type in your business name and see if anything pops up. If you see a page with your business name (that’s not your fan page), it’s probably a places page.
Places pages are automatically created if a customer has already ‘checked-in’ to your business. If that is the case, you need to claim your place.
Navigate to the page and you will notice an “Is this your business?’ link in the bottom left corner.
This will bring up a popup box which will ask you to certify that you are the official representative of this business. Once you confirm this, you will be guided through a process which may involve telephone or document confirmation. It’s pretty simple.
During this process, you will also need to decide if you would like to turn the places page into a new fan page, combine it with your existing fan page, or leave them separate.
If you do a search and the only result that shows up is your Facebook fan page, you will need to create your place page.
This is pretty simple: At the physical location of your business, using your smartphone or mobile device, open up your Facebook app.
One of the icons on your home screen will say ‘Places’. Click on it and then you will be given the option to check in.
As your location obviously hasn’t been created yet, you will need to select ‘Add’ to the left of the search box.
Enter the name and description of your business, and your ‘place’ has been created!
Now you will need to go back to step #1 and claim your place page.
Once you have confirmed that you are the official representative of the place, you will have the option of merging your places page with your fan page.
Opinions are definitely divided when it comes to whether this is a good move or not. By merging the two, the feel, format and functionality of your page change (whether for the better, you decide!).
If you’re looking to keep things as simple and streamlined as possible, merging may be the right move for you.
However if you’ve spent a lot of time and money on a high-converting landing page, merging will mean all that hard work goes down the tube. Your fan page will now take on the look and feel of the places page, not the other way around. So be sure that you’re prepared for that before you make the move.
Using Facebook places can be a great way to spread the word about your local business through a sort of semi-organic ‘word of mouth’ sharing. When customers check in to your business, their friends will see where they are and hopefully see that as a recommendation.
At the very least, your business name has gotten some completely free advertising, and that can never be a bad thing.
Ready to make the most of Facebook places in your online marketing strategy?