Friday, August 20, 2010

Business Has Increasing Social Presence with Facebook Places

One way to increase value for your business is to leverage free social media.  In my Blog on Small Business Web Presence I list several good easy options.  With Facebook's Places announcement this week, we now have another tool.  Facebook Places is a reach extension for marketers -- when people check in from a venue, they essentially broadcast their presence to their Facebook network. While Foursquare is known for crowning Mayors and awarding badges from checking in to a physical venue,  Facebook Places will likely have a coupon or some other type of award.  It could be a place they can offer discounts and marketing messages to people within a particular proximity -- whenever Facebook introduces such a feature and cell phones have location services activated.

Marketers with a physical location can benefit from Facebook Places by taking some basic steps.  Business Owners can claim their business's Places Page which will be verified by Facebook.  Likely in the same way Google Places verifies its Places.  Every time anyone checks in from that location, it's a huge deal and business owners will want to control that presence.  About 1.5 million business pages exist on Facebook, and each one can merge that page with their Places page by "claiming it".  If you are the official representative of your business,  take the following verification steps to claim your Place on Facebook:
  1. Search for the Place on Facebook you wish to claim as your business. If no Place exists for your business, you can create a new Place.
  2. Once you locate the Place for your business, click the "Is this your business?" link at the bottom of the Place.
  3. Complete the step-by-step verification process to claim your Place.

This is the link for the Facebook Blog that discusses this in more detail.  There is currently an application available for the IPhone and for other HTML 5 and geolocation phones you can access through touch.facebook.com until those applications are developed.

It will be interesting to see how Google and Facebook battle this one out.  Let me know what you think of this service.
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