The most often asked question I get working with small businesses about developing their Internet presence is “Should I promote my business on Facebook?” Generally I believe that there are many more advantageous activities a small business should do (Google Places / Reviews / Internet Activity) before taking on the effort and expense of promoting a small business on Facebook. But with the announcement of Facebook Places my opinion has changed. Every small business should create a Facebook Place, but only businesses where people meet their friends (ie. Restaurants, Gyms, Events, etc.) should spend the time and effort to maintain their Place page on a real-time basis.
Facebook Places (just announced) is a direct competitor to Google Places. Any small business that wants to take advantage of people shopping, and looking for places & services with their Smartphones should consider developing their Facebook presence.
What is Facebook Places?
Facebook Places is a mobile product that can be accessed through Facebook’s most recent iPhone app or via on other phones by accessing touch.facebook.com. If a Facebook Place is already created, a business can claim its Facebook Place and merge their existing Facebook Fan Page with Facebook’s Place page. Facebook Places is similar to Google Places because information about the business is created and available. The extra spin is that Facebook allows Facebook users to “check in” themselves and any of their Facebook friends. Check out Facebook’s video below to get a better understanding of Facebook Places:
Why should I care?
Remember that Facebook is the #1 application used on iPhones and Droids. When people check into a Facebook Place, they are broadcasting that business to their Facebook network and any network of a friend they may have also checked in. Right now if 10% of FB users use Facebook Places , that’s 50 Million people! Over 100 Million people a month using Google Maps on mobile phones to find local businesses, Facebook Places may instantly have 50% of the value of Google Places.
I am not yet recommending investing in Facebook Places for all businesses. But if you are a restaurant or a business where people meet their friends, Facebook Places could become as useful as Google Places, Review sites (ex. Yelp or UrbanSpoon) and Twitter combined.
For some large consumer brands such as Coca-Cola and Starbucks, their Facebook Fan page is becoming more important than their own websites. Kraft Foods’ Oreo is the No. 3 brand page on Facebook with an 8.7 million fan base growing at a clip of 71,000 a day.
At a minimum I would recommend that you search Facebook to determine if they have created a Facebook Place for you business. If Facebook has not I would create one. This is a small effort for any small business, that could be the next big thing in promoting your business. As always if you need help give me a call or send me an email.
This is a big topic and Part I of a series of Posts about Facebook Places I look to develop. If you want more information now, here is a list of useful Facebook Places Articles.