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Facebook Places for companies

Location-based services let people report where they are, so they can connect with friends, get rewards (or “‘social badges”’) or receive coupons. In his August 2010 CMO Matrix, web strategist Jeremiah Owyang sees this as a huge opportunity to target your most loyal and local customer base:

Now, as consumers indicate their location and time while on the go, marketers may reach them using a variety of contextual information, advertisements, and harnessing what their friends have done before them in the same locations.

At first adoption of location-based services like Foursquare and Gowalla was limited to young, geeky iPhone toting urbanites. That is, until Facebook entered the location-based services space with Facebook Places. Facebook Places is currently available in a few select countries (including the US, UK and Japan) with many more on the way. Towards Facebook users, Places is positioned as a way to "Easily share where you are, what you're doing and the friends you're with right from your mobile."
The most compelling reason for Facebook users to "check in"? To "get individual discounts, share savings with friends, earn rewards for repeat visits or secure donations for good causes."

Want some ideas?

Here are some inspiring examples from Ogilvy’s keynote ‘How To Use Foursquare for Business’ - they apply for other location-based services as well:

  1. Mayor Specials: reward your single most loyal customer.
  2. Frequency-based Specials, for example: “‘Foursquare users get a 10% off every third check in”’
  3. Check-In Offers, for example: “‘Show your check in to the waiter for a free drink!”’
  4. Wildcard Specials, for example: “‘Show us your Newbie Badge to earn a free night’s stay!"’

MarketingEasy.net explains how you can find, create or claim a Facebook Place you represent and the benefits of merging your Facebook Place with your Facebook Page:

  1. You will be able to manage your business centrally on Facebook if you choose to merge your single Place and Page.
  2. This includes posting status updates, photos, and links. Most importantly, all of the people who Liked your Facebook Page will remain connected to your business and you can continue interacting with them.
  3. Your new merged Page will now be updated with a richer design that includes Place information such as maps and check-ins. Your core Page content – Photos, Videos and Events will remain, as well as any custom tabs.
  4. In addition, you will keep your existing vanity URL if applicable.

Further reading: