Location based social media services like Foursquare and Gowalla came into vogue this year and had everybody excited about the possibilities. Facebook was late to the party launching its “Places” service in Canada in late November.
If your company has a physical location it makes sense to have a Facebook Place so you can track the people coming into your venue (store, restaurant, café, etc) and allow them to help promote you. Facebook recently released a guide to show businesses how to merge Facebook Pages and Facebook Places into a single Page. The result is a newly designed, and radically different, Facebook Page which includes location-based information.
To Merge or Not to Merge
If you merge your Place to your Page, your Place page will be updated with a richer design that includes maps and check-ins. The core content, such as Photos, Videos and Events from your Page will remain, as well as any custom tabs, or vanity URLs. If you are running any ads that direct to your original Page, your ads will continue to run as usual.
If you don’t have time to read the Facebook Guide I have broken down the process into 3 easy steps.
Step 1: Create Your Place
The first thing you’ll need to do is check too see if your “place” exists on Facebook. You can do this by to opening Facebook on your iPhone or Facebook for touch devices on a compatible phone and searching for your business. If your venue doesn’t exist, you can create your “place” by clicking on “Add” or the “+” sign depending on whether or not you are using Facebook for touch devices or Facebook for iPhone.
Step 2: Claim Your Place
Claiming your place will allow you to manage your address, contact info and business hours, etc. This is similar to managing your Facebook page but with additional functionality like, maps, directions and check-ins. To claim your place you’ll need to:
- Login to Facebook search for and select the name of your place. Click the “Is this your place?” link.
- Check the box to declare that you are an official representative.
- Facebook will then attempt to call the phone number listed to provide a 4-digit verification code (much like Google local).
- Enter the 4-digit verification number. Once verified you will receive a message that it has been claimed.
Step 3: Merge Your Place & Page
The final step is to merge the Place and the Page. The result is a combined Page which effectively serves as a local business page. The design is radically different from existing Facebook Pages so you’ll want to check a few out and decide if it’s right for you before finalizing the merge. However, it is possible that Facebook will move in this direction for all Pages.
If you have any questions about Facebook places or would like to talk to someone about helping you with your Facebook marketing leave a comment below.
Check back next week when I talk about how to create your Facebook “Deals”.