The Places We’ll Go: How Marketers Can Use Facebook’s New Location Features

The following article is excerpted from the October 2010 edition of the Facebook Marketing Bible, the comprehensive guide to marketing your company, app, or brand on Facebook.

Facebook’s long-awaited entrance into the location space, Places, brings a new dimension to the tools advertisers and marketers have at their disposal on the social network.

Places, which builds on momentum from earlier forerunners in the space like Foursquare, Gowalla, and Loopt, allows Facebook users to temporarily share their location via check-ins. Users can share where they are at any given moment with friends by “checking in” to a venue. Facebook’s twist is that friends can tag each other at Places, like they do in photos, which brings in an extra viral element compared to other location-based services.

Businesses can use check-ins to incentivize different kinds of behavior and reward new or existing customers with deals if they go to outlets at specific times.

A Basic Use Case

Use Case 1: Deals in exchange for a single check-in to virally market a business to new customers.

This is a fairly standard technique that was pioneered by earlier location-based social networks like Foursquare and Gowalla.

In exchange for a single check-in, a local business offers a free good or discount. In turn, the check-ins can fuel word of mouth promotion for a local business because they appear in the news feed, allowing other friends to see it. A business can also offer deals to the first 50 customers who check-in, incentivizing people to come quickly for an offer.

Example 1: Silicon Valley shopping mall Westfield Valley Fair is offering a $200 discount on precious stones if Facebook users check-in to the mall.

If the user checks in, they’ll get a coupon code that they can present to a store associate for the discount. Westfield is working with Santa Monica-based Fan Appz to power the location-based coupons. In earlier Places promotions, Westfield offered a 15 percent discount on clothing from Betsey Johnson or a chance to win a pair of Jonas Brothers concert tickets to customers who checked in.

The full Facebook Marketing Bible entry on Facebook Places for marketers includes an additional ten use cases and even more examples. For more strategies on how to market your business with Facebook Places, Questions, social plugins, and many more features, check out the Facebook Marketing Bible.

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