Facebook Places for business: Location-based networking at a new level
Facebook released their location based services known as Facebook Places recently. Facebook Places allows Facebook users to share their location and find new hot spots, following where their friends go. This application is considered as the strongest rival for Foursquare and other location-based check-in services.
Location based social networking isn’t a new concept. Foursquare has more than 3 million users since its launch five years back while, Google Maps has location-based mobile networking for more than 100 million users. Still, Facebook Places throws open location-based networking to its user base of 500 million, the most important fact here is, 150 million of Facebook users sign into the site via their mobile phones.
You have the option to share your location by “checking in” to that place and letting friends know where you are. You can easily see if any of your friends have also chosen to check in nearby. Places is only available in the United States right now. But Facebook is planning to make it available in many countries and also, on other mobile platforms shortly.
When you check in, you will have options to tag friends who are with you in that location. You can post a status update along with your check-in, similar to how you share a link, picture or a video. In the “People Here Now” section, you will be seeing others who are checked in with you at that place.
Facebook is yet to confirm how Facebook Places will integrate with Facebook business pages. But this will certainly happen in the near future and companies will have a great opportunity to market and promote their products and services using Facebook Places.
Claim Your Place: Get started with Facebook Places by claiming your place so that you can observe the behavior of the initial curious people who tempt to check in to your place and update their friends. You can quickly create it by clicking on “Add” or the “+” sign depending on whether or not you are using Facebook for touch devices or Facebook for iPhone. This is another outpost for your business that can provide some search value for people looking for your products and services.
Getting Users Engaged: You can certainly get users who check-in engaged along with their friends to help spread your Places among their network. You can conduct contests to get people to visit your place. You can also ask your customers to give a review for your place. Once they start sharing their stories about your place you will have more exposure.
Getting ahead of competitors: Stay tuned to the promotions of your competitors who are using Places and be ready to give counter-offers to those who are visiting the places of your competition.
Places on Facebook is new so not many people have started playing with them, so you can have the advantage of the leader and reap the benefits. But the results depend on how you can use Facebook Places to promote business.