Facebook Places has landed and whether you like it or not, it’s going to generate significant interest and engagement.
If you haven’t seen or read the buzz about this new hyper local service, essentially Facebook Places allows users to check in to locations from their mobile or portable devices so that friends and followers can see where they are at. For the full brief, visit our Facebook Places post from a few weeks ago.
So if you’re a local business, I recommend following the steps I’ve outlined below to use Facebook Places to grow your business.
- Claiming and Verifying Your Business
The first step is claiming your Facebook Places listing. It works in a similar way to Google Places in that you can verify you’re the owner and then have control to edit information about the listing.
If nobody has checked in to your business location, you’ll need to load up the Facebook iPhone application or Facebook for touch devices and check if your place exists already.
You can do this by searching for your business place. If it doesn’t exist, you can create it by clicking on “Add” or the “+” sign. Once you’ve created it and added a description, you can “check in”.
You’ll then need to log in to Facebook and search for the Place that you’ve created or check in to. Once you find it, you can click on the “Is this your business?” link at the bottom of the place as pictured below, and go through the simple verification process.
Once you’re verified, you’ll be able to update information on the Facebook Place such as phone number plus add additional information about the business.
- Building Buzz – Getting Viral
Once your business’ Facebook Place is live and verified, you need to start promoting it. The best way to promote it is by getting people to Check In.
To get the ball rolling, get into the habit of checking in when ever you come to work. Get your employees to do the same. Every time they check in, their network of friends will be exposed to your business via their activity wall.
Encourage your customers to Check In while they’re at your store or establishment. Test incentives as that will give them a reason to promote your business to their network. e.g. discounts or value ads for checking in.
People tend to have strong local networks on Facebook, so the more people you can get Checking In, the more exposure you’ll get to local customers.
- Rewarding Loyal Customers
Make it a part of your regular marketing to check your Facebook Places page. You’ll be able to see the people that are checking in over time.
Those that you’re not connected to, add them as a friend or share your business page with them and make a connection.
Use it as a great way to build loyalty. Offer special offers or exclusive deals to people to thank them for visiting and that will encourage them to return and start the Facebook Places Check in cycle again.
Facebook Places will only be as rewarding as the effort you put into it. While there’s no guarantees it will be a sustainable marketing channel, while there’s buzz about it, you should leverage it to drive more exposure for your business.
If you’re using Facebook Places in other ways to promote your business, share your ideas with our readers below.