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Top 5 Benefits to Marketing with Facebook Places

Posted on Friday, August 20th, 2010 by Print This Post Print This Post

Categories - Featured, Social Media

Facebook announced yesterday the release of their new Facebook Places feature. The feature allows mobile users to “check-in” to their physical location or “place”. Users can do this on their smart phones or browser on web-enabled mobile devices. Currently, the service is only available in the US, but other countries  cannot be too far behind. This puts Facebook head to head against other LBS (location based services) biggies like Foursquare and Gowalla (if you aren’t 100% familiar with the extensive list of LBSs, check out this shameless plug for my white paper on location-based social media.

So why worry about investing in a marketing strategy involving Facebook places in this saturated market? Here are the top 5 benefits to marketing with Facebook Places:

1) Robust Profiling Data

Users connect their profiles to a plethora of interests on Facebook. They overtly state their interests in the “info” tab and indirectly connect themselves to interests when they “like” a brand or community page. Now, with the addition of social plugins, users connect their profiles to everything they browse outside of Facebook. This gives Facebook a library of data about users so rich that you can target for pretty much anything. Want to advertise a special only to urban hip hop lovers? Using creative keyword and location choices, you can really hone in on exactly the audience you want to view your ad.

2) Immense existing audience

Facebook Places is currently available only in the US. This equates to an audience with about 150 million users, while other LBSs  struggle to hit the 1 million user mark. These users have an average of 130 friends. Users who are likely to be early adopters to Facebook Places will most likely have a higher average number of friends. These users group themselves into communities in groups, community pages, and brand pages. As a manager of Facebook brand pages, you get to know the active community members well quickly. If active users checkin to your place, they can quickly and organically make a very large audience aware of your business.

3) Unique Advertising Opportunities

As a member of the team focused primarily on optimized organic campaigns, I often get sick of hearing about all of the display advertising capabilities of Facebook. Despite my personal nausea over the topic, Facebook really is doing something right. There are constantly new types of ads to engage users. These ads often have better bang for your buck and a better ROI than traditional non-SMM ad types. Great display can lead to successful branding campaigns, event marketing, and fan acquisition. You can serve photos, get users to “like” your page in the ad, view videos, pretty much everything short of purchase directly in the ad (I claim a portion of rights if Facebook comes out with this anytime soon). All I get served by Facebook are ads around shoes, pizza, and travel. They know me well.  Many LBSs services offer the chance to advertise, but Facebook is definitely ahead of the game in the variety of possible ads.

4) Viral Sharing Options

When a user checks in, the check is blasted to their wall, and into their users stream. The check in is linked to the place, and able to be commented on and liked. Every time a user interacts with this check in, the viral potential grows. Some LBSs have yet (or have just begun) to allow integration with other social media sites. Users may adopt and share more in Facebook’s new all-in-one social media community and LBS, without the extraneous checking in with other services.

5) Make a splash, be the first

This benefit will only be applicable for a short time. There are currently no brands making marketing headlines with a nifty Facebook places campaign. Whenever a new social media function or website comes along, audiences pay most attention while the new feature is still “shiny and sparkly”.  For a little more than some creative genius and some effort, you can get the extra return that a groundbreaking marketing strategy can bring you. So, put on your genius hats, grab a six-pack, get your smartest players, and come up with the cool campaign that will rock everyone’s socks off.

Have you tried Facebook Places yet?  Give us your initial impression of this new service.

About Kate Shaw

Hailing from the high desert where I began my love with all things shiny by working with film production. Abandoning my love for film for a “real career”, I started marketing and PR for a non-profit in Sacramento. Having lived from Europe to Central and South America, I can ask for a beer in any regional Spanish accent one can imagine. Settling in Argentina, I did social media marketing for an international tourism company for 2 years before landing in Santa Monica and The Search Agency.

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10 Responses to “Top 5 Benefits to Marketing with Facebook Places”

  1. TM says:

    Facebook Places is likely to open up a lot of marketing possibilities. Not too sure how well this will be perceived by the privacy-sensitive users, but that crowd is the minority compared to the users that are willing share every bit of information.

  2. Barbara says:

    With Facebook’s existing and extensive user base, I wonder what this does for other LBS chance at success. Do I really want to check in to multiple places if I can check in once on Facebook and reach everyone I care about?

  3. Kate says:

    One caveat is that at this moment in time, other LBSs offer more user benefits. LBSs like Where and Foursquare offer coupons and rewards. Facebook Places has yet to be utilized by marketers, making it a rather lonely one way status blast by users which they may soon tire of.
    Knowing Facebook however, this lack of advertisers and thus lack of benefit will be short lived

  4. Josefina Argüello says:

    FourSquare is location-based too, but its reward and badge system seems to be more of an independent accomplishment than Facebook Place’s social objective: to connect with others who are in the same place as you are. Still, both of them are great marketing opportunities.

    Josefina Argüello – Posicionamiento en Google

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