How Marketers and Businesses Can Start Using Facebook Places

Facebook has started making Places, its long-speculated location service, available to users. And while it is only available to users in the US, expect it to make a big impact with Facebook’s 500 million people worldwide as it rolls out to more users and devices around the world – Places is going to significantly impact the entire ecosystem of Facebook users and businesses. More than 150 million of Facebook’s users access Facebook on mobile devices, and some large portion have a phone that they’ll be able to use to check themselves in, check their friends in, and create a Place page about any real-world location.

In other words, any business or other organization with a physical presence should make sure to claim and manage their Place page. The most immediate reason is that lots of users will be generating content on the page, with or without an admin to moderate it. The more important reason, though, is that Places is a promising new way to connect with customers, clients and partners.

First, we’ll look at how to get started using Places. Then, we’ll look at how to use it.

Getting Your Place

Facebook has filled Places with a directory of some 14 million local businesses already, via a partnership with business listings data provider Localeze; 600,000 of these listings are already verified by the businesses, who have access to manage the Localeze information that gets shared with Facebook and other third parties (more on that here).

This partnership, and the ability for users to create Places, means that the actual owners of the place in the physical world will need to claim it with Facebook. Here’s how that process works.

Claiming Your Facebook Place

1. Search on Facebook’s web site for your business name.

2. When you find your Place, you can claim it by clicking on the link below the profile picture that says “Is this your business?”.

We’ll explain how to claim below — before that, though, here’s what to do if you don’t see your place:

Adding Your Facebook Place

1. Using the mobile web or app interface, click on the + or Add button — the Place will be pinned at your current GPS coordinates, so don’t do this from home unless you’re creating a Place for a home office.

2. Enter your Place’s name and description.

3. Click “add”

4. Now, go to your new Place page and click on the “Is this your business?” button.

Verifying Ownership

Now, here’s how to claim your Place:

1. The first page of the form requires you to select a button certifying that you’re the owner of the Place — click through, assuming you are.

2. Then, the next Page shows you your pre-populated business number.

3a. If you use an automated phone system, Facebook will ask you to enter your preferred extension number so it can reach you.

3b. If the number is wrong, Facebook will have you click through to a generic claim form that lets you edit then submit all details of your business, including Place name, Place URL, official name of business, address, phone number, your name and title, and your federal employee identification number (if applicable). You’ll also need to upload a copy of one of the following: articles of incorporation, certificate of formation, local business license, or Better Business Bureau accreditation. You’ll also need to check a box re-affirming legalese about how you are who you claim to be.

4. Unless you need to file the full claim, Facebook will then give your listed number a call, and provide you with a four-digit PIN.