BY ALEX TRAN
Since the beginning of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg realized the importance of recommendations and friendships. People don’t want to read a movie review in a newspaper to choose what movie to see. Rather, they want to hear their friend’s review before making a decision.
Facebook Places is Facebook’s way of helping small local businesses take advantage of this friend-recommendation phenomenon.
Using Facebook Places, your business can be recommended to your customer’s friends, without them ever feeling like they’re being sold to. You get to take advantage of the existing networks of connection in the world’s largest social network.
Here’s more on what Facebook Places can do for you, and how to use it.
Using Facebook Places for Social Proof
There are a couple ways Facebook Places helps you create “social proof.” In other words, it helps create the impression that a lot of people, especially people you know, come to your business.
First, it shows you a list of the other friends you have who’ve “liked” your business. Since “liking” takes a bit of effort and is an explicit endorsement, the more likes you have the more credibility your business will have in the customer’s eyes.
In addition to showing all the likes and check-ins from your friends, it’ll also show a general count for all the likes and check-ins your business got.
Run Special Promotions on Facebook
Instead of trying to get your own brand new traffic to your website, Facebook allows you leverage their traffic for your business’ benefit. One of the best ways to do that is through special promotions.
In Depth Information, Accessible Anywhere
Bus information, maps, phone numbers, website URL, address, hours of operations and more can all be accessed anywhere there’s internet. If your potential client has an Android phone, an iPhone, an iPad or even an old-fashioned phone with a browser, they’ll be able to access your Place to find details on your business.
How to Use Facebook Places for Business
To start, you need to claim your business. This basically puts you “in charge” of the place and the page, so you can make the necessary changes you want to make.
Once you’ve claimed your page, the next step is to make your page as useful and viral as possible.
Here’s how to do that.
Step 1: Claiming Your Business
Navigate to your page. Click on “Is this your business?” in the lower left hand corner.
You’ll be asked to verify your business either using your address, your phone number or through providing official documents.
Step 2: Adding Your Photos
Add as many high quality photos as you can. People make a lot of their buying decisions online using photos rather than words.
Pay special attention to your profile photo, as that sets the impression for your whole page.
Step 3: Fill Out the Rest of Your Information
Make your Place as complete as possible. List open and closing times, location, website, manager contact and every other field you can fill out. The more information you can give your users, the easier you’ll make it to be your customer.
Step 4: Promoting Your Page
Once your page is claimed and setup, the final step is to get real people to use it.
Facebook places have a snowball effect. The more people who check in and like it, the higher your place will show up on searches and the more check-ins and likes you’ll get.
The key is to get the initial surge of traffic. The best way to do this is through in-person promotion.
Give special discounts, promotions or incentives for people who check in, like or post on your wall. Ask employees and personal friends to check in and like your business.
You might also want to try experimenting with Facebook Ads directed at a Facebook Place.
Now you know what Facebook Places can do for your business, as well as how to setup your Facebook Place. Setting up the place takes less than a week in total and can pay off for years to come.