The Importance of Facebook Places for Small Businesses

With over 500 million users, Facebook is perhaps one of the best channels for marketing your products on the internet. Facebook Places, which is a location based application, is a new addition to the Facebook apps list and a potential marketing tool for small businesses. Developed on the lines of check-in apps like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp, Facebook Places is a new location-based check-in app that can be used by Facebook users through their smartphones. Besides users, small businesses can also turn this app into a marketing tool and use it to their advantage.

How does Facebook Places work?

Facebook Places allows users to share their location details with their friends on Facebook, through an application installed on their smartphones. So if you are at a local café, bookstore or mall, you can update your location status on Facebook by opening the Facebook app on your mobile and clicking on the “check-in” or Facebook Places icon in it. After which, you can simply search for the place or the business you are situated at and update your status.

With Facebook being the number one social networking site, businesses can make the best of this app by creating a Facebook Places page for their business. To add your business to Facebook Places, just go to the menu option of the Facebook app on your smartphone, create a business description and click on add. After verification of all the details you provide, the page would get activated and you will be able to manage it on your own.

The Facebook Places page contains a map that shows the location of your business along with the number of check-ins to the location. This page can also be used to market special discounts and offers for customers who check-in to your location. As this is a free internet marketing tool, all you would need to do is spend some time on managing the page, and you would be able to make your small business bigger. To make the best of this powerful social networking site, merge your Facebook Places page with your business or brand page on Facebook, which makes the Places page better and the business page complete with a map.

How businesses can use Facebook Places?

Facebook is the largest social networking site and is one of the best internet marketing platforms that small businesses can use. This is why, small businesses should strongly consider adding the new Facebook Places app to their social media marketing tools. If you are a small business owner, here are a few ways of using Facebook Places for your business.

Increase exposure – Facebook is a channel for digital word-of-mouth advertising, and Facebook Places enables small businesses to make the best use of it. When a Facebook user checks-in to your Facebook Places page, the status immediately gets posted to the user’s wall and to the friend’s news feed page. This means that by encouraging one person to check-in to your Facebook Place page, you are exposing your business to hundreds of other Facebook users who are directly or indirectly connected to your customer.

Offer special discounts for check-ins – Use the Facebook business page advertise about the special offers for those who check-in using Facebook Places. You can also advertise about offers at your location and also train your staff to encourage users to check-in to your Facebook Places page for availing the discounts and free gifts.

Reward loyal customers who check-in – While getting new customers to your business is essential for growth, you should also focus on your existing customers who have been loyal to you. You can offer special discounts and incentives like free desserts or drinks to customers with a certain number of check-ins, and encourage them visit your place more often. The more number of times a Facebook user checks into your location, the more exposure your business gets. This also can be advertises on your Facebook business or brand page and at your location.

Benefits of Facebook Places for Small Businesses

Using the Facebook Places tool for internet marketing is highly beneficial for businesses, especially those targeting local markets.

Free word-of-mouth advertising – One of the most effective forms of marketing is word-of-mouth advertising, which is being kept alive through the social networking sites in this digital age. Facebook Places is one such tool for advertising, which businesses can also use to encourage customers to share their experiences and opinions about them. The best part is that all a business has to do is just put in some effort to create the Places page, without having to spend thousands of dollars that would otherwise be required for advertising.

Target local audience – Being a social networking site, Facebook allows businesses to reach out to the global audience or their local audience through location based advertising, depending on the regions they provide services in. Facebook Places, however, is a great tool for small businesses that target customers in a specific location.

Get more customers – When customers use Facebook Places to check-in and tell their friends about their where they are , a number of other Facebook users are also informed about it through the customers’ status updates. In addition to updating the details of their location, Facebook users can also tag their friends who are with them at the specified location. This in turn will lead to more number of people knowing about your business, resulting in more number of potential customers for you.

Boost sales – More number of customers means more sales for your business just by digital word-of –mouth advertising. Also, when you advertise about the special offers and discounts, more number of people would check-in and visit your restaurant or store to get the benefits, which also increases your sales greatly.

Facebook Places technology still needs to catch up with the advanced technology of Foursquare and Gowalla. However, small business owners should stick to using this tool for internet marketing and tap as much potential as they can on Facebook, which is used by millions of users across the world.