Last week’s launch of Facebook Places now provides local companies with a new way to reach and engage consumers through social media. Users can now go beyond a generic “happy hour” status update and can notify their connections of their specific location by checking-in from their mobile device.
Once a user checks into a location (it must be a physical address), they can tag their connections and even comment on how great their “half-off appetizer” was.
The Places page currently exists independent of a company’s fan page, which makes it a separate marketing tool that a business can use to interact with customers. Facebook Places will map the location of the business, show a list of your connections that are currently checked in and display a feed of who has visited the location lately.
Both a description and additional information regarding the business are only available when the location is claimed. Claiming your Facebook Place page is important as it allows you to manage the address, contact information, hours of operations, profile picture and other administrative settings.
At the bottom left hand side of your Facebook Place there is a link that says “Is this your business?” Click on the link and you will be prompted to begin the verification process, which will involve submitting documentation. Once your claim is confirmed, you will own your Place on Facebook.
Facebook Places creates more ways for you to promote and grow your business on Facebook. By giving your potential customers the ability to check in at your business, you give them the power to tell their friends about your business and virally spread the word about your business and all it has to offer.