How Can Businesses Use Facebook Places?

Facebook Places is the a new challenger gunning for Foursquare’s position, and it’s got 500 million users as ammunition. I think its funny that the Facebook Places icon has a four in a square.

Facebook Places is currently only available in the USA. In the UK, the iPhone app has the Places button in place, but tap it and you’re told it isn’t yet available here. We haven’t got an exact date but the average rumour says that it will be in the next two months! So how can business use Facebook places?

Broaden Your Customer Reach

By default, Places check-in will go to a users profile and news stream straight away, (only if the user hasn’t changed their privacy settings) marketers can extend their reach to potential users when they are in their area. broad People will not only be able to stumble upon new areas or locations using Places, but when users check-in to a location, they are telling their entire Facebook network.

Selective Advertising

Marketers want to get in touch with potential customers when they are close to making a purchase. When they are at the point of making a decision, a well targeted advert may sway them into purchasing that item.

It has potential to be a very influential tool for companies to use, as they will be able to work out what customers may be interested in and be able to send them details of other related items depending on where they are. This means that ads will automatically pop up to each individual user, based on their previous actions and location, without having to type anything into a search engine.

Promotion from your Location

With over one million business pages on Facebook, businesses will be able to merge that page with their Places page by ‘claiming’ it, or by telling Facebook that they own the business. Once Facebook has confirmed that you own the business, when a user checks-in to your location, the business will receive more publicity from that check-in.

Special Deals

Foursquare made the gaming aspect of checking-in very popular by making people ‘Mayors’ of that location if they checked-in the most. This could turn into potential rewards for ‘Mayors’ or the top 20 people that check-in, for example; free tea or coffee to people who check-in to a café the most. Subsequently, Places may ultimately be used to distribute buy-one-get-one-free offers, discounts or other deals to entice people within a certain proximity.

Information

The information that can be collected on Places from users (when and how many times they check-in) could prove to be priceless in finding out customers activity, what kind of person they are and, of course, potentially find out what the competition are up to. Also when people leave tips or advice about a location, businesses could take it as feedback and so use it to better themselves.

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Heather Buckley is Director and co-founder of IT and business training providers Silicon Beach Training. Founded in 1999, Silicon Beach Training run public-scheduled training courses in their Brighton Training Centre as well as bespoke on-site courses worldwide. Popular courses include Social Media Training, Photoshop Training and PRINCE2 Training, which has recently been launched in Birmingham. Heather writes on the Silicon Beach Training blog with a focus on IT, Project Management and Social Media as well as offering Photoshop knowledge from her experience as a photographer.