5 Reasons Why Facebook Places Is Kind of a Big Deal

facebook placesFacebook announced what can clearly be called a “me too” location check in function yesterday, but hey, when you have half a billion people using something, even a copied innovation can have huge immediate impact. Facebook Places is a smart-phone location check-in feature that allows users to share their location, find the location of their friends, and discover new places based on other Facebook user recommendations – much like Loopt, Foursquare and Yelp! provide.

To get started, you’ll need the most recent version of the Facebook application for iPhone. (As of last night you had to search and download as it was not showing up as an update) You also can access Places from touch.facebook.com if your mobile browser supports HTML 5 and geolocation. A lot of information about how this service works is still evolving (Only available in the US right now as well) but you here’s the current FAQ page from Facebook

This is a big deal because location check-in has exploded as a habitual way of connecting and it stands to reason that a large number of people using Gowalla and Foursquare today will migrate their location check-ins to the network where they spend most of their time already – Facebook. This move kind of makes my status as the Mayor of my local coffee shop look a whole lot less interesting.

Facebook seems very invested in this function and were adamant about the fact that users will have the ability to set and restrict privacy using Places. By default your checkins will go to your profile and news stream. If you want to change who can see your checkins, go to your account’s privacy settings. You’ll see that “Places I check in” is by default shared with “Friends Only.” You can change who views your checkins from this area.

Why It’s a Big Deal for Business

  • Facebook is building a suite of advertising tools that will allow you to list, claim and advertise your place on Facebook
  • You no longer have to educate your customers – they all know what Facebook is
  • People checking in at your business are naturally telling some part of the word about your business
  • Offering coupons and special offers for people who check in is a natural way to tap the power of using online tools to drive offline sales.
  • Data that you can collect on users and amount of times they checkin will prove extremely valuable in tracking customers and advertising spend

If your business is not already listed on Places you can add it by following these instructions. The roll-out is a bit spotty across the US today, but my guess is that by next week people will be Places happy.

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  • http://twitter.com/StartupSidekick Jason Sullivan

    It will be interesting to see how Facebook Places affects Foursquqre. The marketing principles will still remain similar across both I suppose.

    Distributing coupons through geo-location apps as you mentioned is a very good idea. It's a fast and easy way to get in the game, and it can provide definite benefits quickly. Nice article as always John

    http://twitter.com/StartupSidekick (follow me on Twitter for more entrepreneurial advice)

  • http://www.thrivewebmedia.com Ben @ Thrive

    Facebook Places has arrived, got an update for my iphone today!

    Does this mean the end of FourSquare?? maybe, maybe not.

    many people I know dont use 4square but when i ask everyone in the office if they would you facebook places, they said they would give it a try

    It's just odd to watch Google, Facebook, and Twitter all fight for the same spot.

  • http://www.melissadata.com Ray Melissa

    Another example of Facebook touching something and we all watch it turn to Gold.

  • http://www.gameculturalist.com/ Game Culturalist

    Do you think now that the API was released game developers can really take advantage of Places as a tool for games?

    Do you guys at DTM agree with any of these points?

    Let me know!

    Jeff Ramos

  • http://twitter.com/SiteStreamSEO SiteStream SEO

    This is a prime example of why Facebook can't be ignored. The user base is just so big that effectively copying functions done elsewhere can see Facebook become a major player overnight.

    Facebook search is probably still an irrelevance for business but what if Facebook actually created a search function that wasn't rubbish? What effect will Facebook Questions have on Yahoo Answers?

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    I think Facebook search is something that should be watched for sure

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    Well, let's wait and see if they actually pull it off – sometimes their integration is a bit off – I think the questions function is worthless right now.

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    I think this will greatly slow the Foursquare buzz – people, even non techies, have embraced Facebook so there's no education process to get people to adopt. It may not be as cool, but it's mainstream

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    As someone who has integrated social location tools into their everyday business, I haven't yet seen my customers getting any charge out of using this service from facebook. Most of them say things like: “that's just not how I use facebook”, and “it's just not as fun”. However, I agree that for a network of half-a-billion users, this maybe their first introduction to this type of check-in.

    The way it looks and feels today, I can't see loyal foursquare users switching to facebook for checkins, but then again, I'm not sure that was what they were trying to achieve.

    What do you think? Is this move one of educating and introducing newbies or stealing established market share, or both?

  • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

    Hey Joe, I agree, the point that's in all of this is that this might be Foursquare for the rest of the world. People hooked on Foursquare is a small number, this will intro location checkins to the masses and that's what should make business owners wake and start planning location promotions.

  • http://linkedin.com/in/joesorge Joe Sorge

    Ok, yes, the awareness will jump up big time. I'm thinking that if foursquare plays its cards right it could really take advantage of this new exposure to location promotions. I added this link above, but looks like we commented at the same time.

    Foursquare Experiences Record Signups After Launch of Facebook Places http://t.co/yIFw79G

  • http://www.brand5.com Mark Faggiano

    This space is getting really crowded, really fast. And it doesn't even have huge adoption yet.

    Seems to me like there's way more value to brands than consumers right now when it comes to check-ins. Brands get to collect valuable data. Consumers have to work way too hard to participate. As it is now, people have to check in to one app for venues, another for TV shows, and another for food. Not many people are going to do all of that. Already, people are too annoyed to check-in to daily venues and are using auto check-in apps.

    Consolidation is coming. Maybe this is the beginning. Will be fun to watch.

  • http://www.hirebetterblog.com Kristen

    It hadn't occurred to me that businesses can provide discounts / coupons to Facebookers checking in. That's a pretty cool thing.
    I'll have to admit, I've never used FourSquare but have watched at conferences and events as friends use it. I never have understood the value but it looks like I'd better start becoming more aware!

  • Eazar13
  • http://twitter.com/BluewaterDirect Bluewater Direct

    It will certainly be interesting to see what kind of recognition this gets for small businesses as more people see their friends are “checking in” to places. It has the potential to be a great medium for generating referrals!

  • http://startbusinessopps.com/ Patrice

    Almost everyone are into facebook nowadays. Right – it's really a big deal for business. I noticed some friends who are posting ads for their business.

  • http://www.2seo.com/ Teena

    It really is a big deal but a big deal for what particular business, industry?, I just wonder what the percentage of users do in Facebook because if the majority only uses it to socialize without the intention of looking for something to buy, a place to go to etc…etc…then it should be spelled what FB is really good for, does anyone really has to adapt. I hope you'll be able to come up with something like that, there have been of course write up about that but I think it's good to come up with an updated case on that. I'm always looking forward for your new post.

  • Grt2

    Don't underestimate then power of Geo-Social Networks for personal branding initiatives. People want to do business with others the know,like, trust and a that can solve their problems. http://www.grt2studios.com/blog

  • http://twitter.com/foxepractice Fox ePractice

    “Offering coupons and special offers for people who check in is a natural way to tap the power of using online tools to drive offline sales.”

    …merry that with a future Yelp like review functionality, and you will see what a major shift Facebook Places is going to be.

    The Healthcare Industry Impact
    To prove how big of a deal Facebook Places is just imagine what Yelp has done in the healthcare industry. It's the most trusted and influential user-generated review site of doctors and medical practices. But Yelp lacks the member base to take location-based social network to the masses.

    With Facebook's 500 million member base, whatever they will do–it's going to have a huge impact.

    Read my take on how Facebook Places is going to impact the Healthcare industry:


  • http://www.directorysubmissionservices.net Nick

    I think facebook is one of the best social networking site in te world. As facebook is used for entertainment also for the business purposes.So now i think there is no time to slow facebook..thanks for sharing ..