Yesterday, Facebook made the anticipated announcement that Facebook Places is now live. Places is expected to be a major blow to other location based services like FourSquare and Gowalla. More importantly, Places presents another, location based marketing opportunity for businesses and organizations of all sizes. Imagine the possibility behind the power of location based marketing, on the world’s largest social network.
Facebook Places from the Users Perspective
Facebook Places is currently available for iPhone and through mobile browsers that are HTML 5 and geolocation enabled (http://touch.facebook.com), but only available in the United States at launch.
Users will be able to:
- Check-in at places that are listed or easily added;
- Share check-ins with friends and see the friends that have checked in at nearby places;
- Facebook will show users that have checked in near to you by relevancy;
- Tag friends who are at the same location, which checks them in (based on their privacy settings);
- When users are tagged at a location, they are notified;
- Check-in data will also spring up in third-party applications as they are developed;
- Users on Foursquare and Gowalla will be able to push their check-ins into FB Places;
Facebook Places from a Business Perspective
Our immediate thoughts on Facebook Places:
If you’ve been resistant to the trend of location based services, Facebook Places should be the straw that breaks that camel’s back. If you didn’t take our word for it, Facebook’s entrance into this arena should confirm for you the validity of location based services being worth your consideration.
If you haven’t jumped into location based services for marketing, at this point – Facebook Places might be the best place for you to start – especially if you’re already seeing results using Pages and other areas.
Claim your location on Facebook Places, so that even if you’re not active from the marketing perspective, you can ensure your location/business is present for the possibility of check-ins. Also, Places pages are stand alone and an additional opportunity to gain traction with “likes” as users can like each Places page individually.
As of yet, you can not target ads to Places, but you can perform a Page to Place merge and target people who have “liked” your Places Page.
Once you claim your Places page, you’ll be able to create widgets, buttons and additional means for advertising just like you can with your regular Page.
Facebook Places could be the catapult to location based services finally hitting mainstream. Many were thinking Places would be a killer for services like Foursquare and Gowalla. We believe, like the wise heads over at Hubspot, Places is a direct attack on Google Places and services like Yelp.