Facebook Places is a geolocational tool that is designed to help users share their favorite spots and discover new ones. Users can “check in” at various locations, from cities to movie theaters to small boutiques, and then share updates with their connections that include a map and pin showing that exact location.
For small businesses, Facebook Pages can be a useful mobile marketing tool. Setting up a location for your business makes it easier for people to share their experience with your business and direct their friends to you as well. Essentially, it lets them do some of the work for you.
If you’re interested in adding Facebook Places to your mobile marketing mix, here’s a quick guide.
How Facebook Places Works
When a user goes to create a post from the Facebook app, they’re presented with the option to add their location. When they press the button, the app pulls up a list of nearby locations to choose from. They can also add their own custom location. Once they’ve selected a location, they can also include a text post, photos, or tag friends in the post.
Benefits of Facebook Places
For local businesses, check-ins help you increase visibility on Facebook and make it easier for new customers to find you. Seeing updates about your business from friends provides a type of social proof. It’s also a benefit that the update comes from an actual user rather than a business page, since people are more likely to see posts from their friends due to the algorithm.
Additionally, Facebook has a feature called Place Tips that offers visitors little tidbits about the places they visit. For example, it could show someone at a restaurant a snippet from the menu or a signature cocktail that tends to be popular with a lot of visitors. Basically, it aggregates the content that people talk about most with a particular place. So it can ultimately help new visitors have a better experience.
Places vs. Pages
Facebook Places and Pages are not the same. So you do not automatically have a Place listing just because you have a business page. However, you can merge the two so that when people check in at your business, anyone who clicks on the post will be directed to your actual page.
Social media consultant Andrea Vahl explains, “Pages came along and Places were for a long time separate from the Pages. But Facebook realized that businesses wanted to have more control and have a Place and a Page that were one. You can merge them if you have control over Place and Page together.”
How to Add Your Business
In order to sign your business up for Facebook Places, there are two different routes you can take. If you’re just signing up for a Facebook page, select “Local Business” as your business category. Then you’ll have the ability to add your address and Facebook will automatically link your page with your location.
However, other people can add your location as they check in as well. If there are already places added for your business, search for your business name on Facebook and look for any results under Places. Click on it and go to the page, where you’ll find a “know the owner?” link. That will walk you through the process of claiming it so that it will go directly to your business page.
How to Make the Most of Facebook Places
If you want to get the most value out of Facebook Places, incentivize people to actually check in at your business.
Donna Moritz, social media strategist at Socially Sorted outlined a promotion from Zarraffa Coffee, where the brand offered a complimentary upsize on each coffee order for customers who showed their check-in to the barista when they placed an order.
It’s a very simple idea. Just offer a small discount or freebie for people who post about your business in this specific way. But it can really help you to reach more people on Facebook in a really organic and effective way.
Additionally, you can simply encourage people to check-in by providing a great experience and then gently letting them know that they have the option, either through signage or staff members. As Sarah Wai of Tribute Media points out, customers tend to share their experience with a business when they’re either really impressed or really disappointed. So do everything you can to ensure that it’s the former.