Facebook's location product brings checkins, geotagging and "Place Pages" to the world's largest social network. Users can broadcast where they are through Facebook's iPhone app or its mobile website. They can tag friends and create community Place Pages for local businesses, and Facebook promises there is a lot more to come.
Small businesses are already using location services like Foursquare by offering special deals to early adopters and building brand loyalty. Facebook Places has the potential to reach a much bigger audience though; how should business utilize this opportunity?
To get started, we've written a brief Q&A explaining exactly what small businesses should know about Facebook's newest product. Add your questions in the comments below, and we'll point you in the right direction.
Facebook Places Q&A
Q: What is Facebook Places exactly?
A: Facebook Places is the social network's new location product. It's a lot like Foursquare -- users can "checkin" to restaurants, venues, businesses and other locations and broadcast that to their friends' news feeds.
Q: What are Facebook Place Pages?
A: Whenever someone checks in to a location, it corresponds to a web page. For example, here is the page for Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It includes items such as descriptions, addresses, maps and friends' activities.
Q: My business is on Facebook Places, but I can't add a description or do anything with it. What should I do?
A: You can claim your business's location page by clicking the "Is this your business" link at the bottom of its Place Page. Once you prove it's your business, you will gain greater control over it.
Q: What business opportunities are there for Facebook Pages?
A: Great question, but unfortunately the answer isn't quite here yet, since Facebook Places is so new. However, there is a Facebook Places API where developers and businesses can build apps for their benefit. One example is Topguest, which is already offering travel rewards for checkins on Facebook. Because people see this activity on their news feeds, Topguest rewards quickly spread.
It's a bold new frontier; you will have to get creative and try different tactics in order to capitalize on the business opportunities.
Q: Anything else I should know about Facebook Places?
A: Yes: don't jump onto a new trend or product just because it's getting buzz. Make sure it's right for your business and fits into your overall strategy. It's up to you to figure out the best way to integrate Facebook Places into your business.
If you have questions about Facebook Places, add them in the comments below, and we'll do our best to answer them or point you in the right direction.
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