Facebook is everywhere. The social networking platform boasts hundreds of millions of users and it’s becoming an expectation that your business be represented there. Traditionally a web-based application based on status updates, Facebook is riding the geo-location wave like so many other businesses and taking advantage of the fact that a rising number of users are accessing Facebook from their mobile phones.
Taking it’s cue from other social networks, like Foursquare and Yelp!, Facebook added it’s own location-based technology called Facebook Places. Most likely you’ve all heard of it, and many of you have tried it, but have you harnessed it’s power for the benefit of your business?
Facebook Places allows users to share where they like to go and start a discussion based on what they’re doing and where. Places is also more social than other predecessors in that they can tag their friends with them and also see where their friends are hanging out all on a network they are already addicted to.
The way Facebook Places includes location on status updates is like free advertising for your salon; it doesn’t cost you anything to set up your salon’s location page. Moreover, because people frequent places that they like, every time someone checks into your salon’s Places page, it as if she is advocating to her entire friend network that your salon is worth checking out. Given that the average Facebook user has well over 100 friends, it is like she is advocating your salon to 100 potential clients.
- Find your location. This is a very easy process but it must be done before you can start using Facebook Places to benefit your business. Do this by first searching for your business, just in case it’s already been added! If it has, skip to step #2 below. If it hasn’t select ‘Add’ and enter the relevant details including the name of your location and an optional description. You will have the opportunity to modify this later on once you claim your place.
- Claim your location. Next, navigate to that page in your web browser (much easier than on your mobile phone!) and scroll to the bottom and select the link that reads “Is this your business?” You will then have to verify your ownership of the location through a verification process. This may take some time as Facebook wants to make sure you are who you say you are.
- Merge Your Place with Your Page. Once you have claimed your Place on Facebook, you will have an entirely separate entity to your Page. This means people will be interacting with you in two separate locations, which isn’t ideal. The next step to getting your Place working for you on Facebook is to merge it with your page. This option will be available to you on your Places page once you’ve finished the verification process. To expedite this, use the exact same name and address as the place you would like to claim, and make sure to add an address to your page. You can add an address by clicking Edit Page in the top right when viewing your page, and filling in the addresses section on the Basic Information tab.