Facebook recently introduced a geolocation application called Facebook Places, which provides a potentially powerful way for mobile and socially centric customers to communicate and gather. Although the implications for the business community are evolving, the marketing potential is strong, given that the number of Facebook users has reached 500 million worldwide, and 150 million of them are currently using mobile devices to access Facebook.* Businesses should consider becoming an early adopter of this new application by claiming their free Place.
In a nutshell, Facebook Places allows users of Web-enabled mobile devices (such as Androids and iPhones) to share their physical location—such as a mall, coffee shop, or sports arena—with their designated network of Facebook friends.
The mobile user simply finds their location on Facebook Places and then “checks in,” after which Facebook alerts the user’s designated friends who have accessed the mobile application. Some people might use Places to organize a meeting, while others may find that their best friend happens to be shopping only one block away, which allows them to connect spontaneously.
Facebook is encouraging businesses to create a listing, or Place, that people can designate on Facebook Places as a meeting location. The listing is free, and business owners can populate it with relevant details about their business, including traditional information—such as hours of operation, photos, and contact information—as well as time-sensitive promotions that only Facebook Places subscribers can access.
The potential is that a business can target customers who want to connect socially and then incent them to patronize their Place by offering special deals, which can help them develop new customers as well as create customer loyalty.
During the initial rollout of Facebook Places, the targeted businesses appear to be retail establishments in metropolitan areas. Given Facebook’s growing subscriber base and its ability to connect people, Places is bound to gain stature among the real-time location applications.
Claiming a business listing on Facebook Places is straightforward. In some cases, Facebook has already created a basic listing for your business, so you simply need to follow the verification process and then add more details. If a listing for your business has not yet been built, you can easily create one from scratch.
For more information about claiming your free business Place, visit Facebook’s Places for Advertisers.
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