Facebook: Location, Location
// August 24th, 2010
It’s been rumoured for some time, now it’s finally here. Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg formally announced the U.S. launch of Facebook Places, a location-based smartphone service that takes on much of the functionality provided by existing services such as Foursquare and Yelp.
Facebook Places is designed to deliver three main offerings:
- Help people share where they are in a social way
- See which friends are nearby
- Discover nearby places and new places through friends’ profiles
From a marketer’s perspective, Facebook Places (and Foursquare and Yelp) enables these opportunities:
1. Special Offers
Special discounts or promotional items can be offered to customers who show that they have “checked in” (i.e. registered their presence) with Facebook Places during the current visit.
2. Promoting the Business
The natural benefit of a social network is sharing. By checking in and announcing to their own friends that they’re visiting your establishment, consumers are essentially offering an endorsement of your services.
3. Rewarding Customer Loyalty.
Give customers a reason to keep coming back by providing a special offer every five or ten Facebook Places check-ins. Once Facebook Places becomes fully functional, it’s not unreasonable to expect Facebook to offer a return-visitor facility similar to the Mayor feature in Foursquare–declaring a Facebook Places “leader” based on the most check-ins. Your business could create a special offer just for that “leader” and exploit the natural competitiveness of customers to drive return visits.
Facebook Places isn’t in New Zealand yet, but once the functionality is enabled here, there’s an instant network of nearly two million local users ready to use it.