Facebook places follows hot on the heels of Foursquare as a tool to let you say where you are on a map. Officially, Facebook Places only appears in North America at the moment, but it will be rolling out across the world very soon, including the UK.
Using a mobile phone application, you can “check-in” after searching for the location of where you are via GPS. This then let’s your friends know exactly where you are, so if they are in the area you can bump into them. Make sure to set it so only the people you trust can see where you are, unless you actually want to be burgled. You can be tagged by people at locations, but I suggest you turn it off. I have friends who would use it to keep tagging me at alternative lifestyle clubs as a joke.
Where your business comes into the equation with Places, is that you can register the location of it. You’ll need to open up the Facebook iPhone application or Facebook for touch devices on a compatible mobile and search to see if your place exists already. You can do this by searching for the place. If it doesn’t exist, you can quickly create it by clicking on “Add” or the “+” sign. You will them need to claim the place by clicking the “Is this your business?” link at the bottom of the place. Your phone number will be compared to by Facebook, which is easily changeable.
Once ownership is claimed you can converge your Page with the Place. People will then be able to see your shop, restaurant, or any other type of business if they are nearby. The clever part is you can send messages to people to promote your services if they have “checked-in”.
This all sounds like a great way to open up location based marketing, as it’s fun and captures the imagination. Be prepared for the privacy issues media backlash, but if used correctly, this functionality has huge potential, especially with other features on the horizon.