If you don’t know what Facebook is, you certainly need to. The social networking website is a mega-giant among online communities, and boasts more than 500 million active users. That’s more people than live in the continental United States, in case you thought you hadn’t read it right. Facebook allows people to stay in touch with their friends as well as meet new people through existing social connections, and it offers an astounding number of virtual “groups” that let people interact through common interests, professions, schools and the like.
Facebook Places is one of the newest evolutions of the Facebook world. It lets people use their smart-devices to publish their location in the real, physical world on a map available to their Facebook friends. According to Facebook, the new functionality lets users share where they are, connect with nearby friends, and find local deals. Find local deals? That’s right. That’s where you, as a business owner, come in.
The idea is fairly simple: reward your customers for coming to your physical location. Once you setup your Facebook Place, you can offer customers benefits for “checking-in” at your business location – which of course requires them to be there in the real world. For instance, you could offer 10% off a purchase with every tenth “check-in,” an entry to win a gift certificate by “checking-in,” or any amount of other benefits associated with one or cumulative “check-ins.”
First things first, though. How can you setup Facebook Places to help build your business? Assuming you already have a Facebook account set up, you first need to “check-in” from your place of business. If you have the Facebook App for your iPhone or smart-device, you can do this by clicking on the “places” tab underneath your inbox. For those who don’t use the Facebook App (you may want to start), you can browse to touch.facebook.com on your phone’s web browser. If your location doesn’t show up in the list of places near your location, you may have to add it. Once you’ve checked in, click the “Is this your business?” link at the bottom of the page.
At this point, you need to verify that you’re actually the business owner. By verifying ownership you can setup your Place with its own Facebook account and begin tracking check-ins from your customers and others. This process entails providing a variety of information such as your FEID, Articles of Incorporation, and possibly more. Simply follow the prompts to get your business listed.
Once you’ve completed the verification process you’ll need to wait for the “Okay” from Facebook’s team. As soon as you have it, your new Facebook Place is ready to be used.
So how do you start “doing it?” Well, talk to your customers. Print out business card sized promotions that explain the benefits of using Facebook Places and hand them out. Maybe get a simple promotion sign printed up to hang up in your windows or post in front of your place of business.
When it comes to building your business, every effort counts. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to use Facebook Places to your benefit.