How to Check In with Customers at Facebook Places

By Greg Holden

Facebook is another big player in location-based marketing; if you have a Facebook presence for your business, it follows naturally that you should create a Facebook Place to market your business as well.

The process is similar to that for Google Places for Business: First you find your business’s Facebook page, if it already exists, or create a new Facebook page for it if necessary. To create a new Facebook page for your business, click the Local business or place option.

The Local business or place option is one of six different types of Facebook pages. After you create a page for your business in this form, you can claim it. Once you claim it, you can act as its administrator and track visits and comments or delete inappropriate posts.

To claim your page, find it on Facebook and then click the icon that looks like a gear and that has a down arrow next to it. (It appears next to the Messages button.) Choose Is This Your Business? from the drop-down menu that appears. Follow the instructions on subsequent screens to claim your business.

One of the advantages of having a “Local business or place” page is that visitors can check in. But to enable check ins, you’ve got to specify a location. It’s a good idea to add other general information, as well, so prospective customers can find out more about you. To add your location and information, first find your business page on Facebook.

Either open the Facebook Home app on your tablet or mobile device, or go to the mobile version of Facebook. Once there, do a search for your page. During the process, you’ll add some basic information about your business — its name, the address, and a description (the description is optional, but a good idea).

Once you have claimed your business page, not only can others check in, but you can add or edit your business information at any time. Perhaps more importantly, you prevent your competitors or others from claiming the page and taking control of it, which occasionally happens.

Other location-based marketing services that serve niche audiences might be perfect depending on what you want to sell. These include Gowalla, which encourages explorations and storytelling, and SCVNGR, which lets businesses set up virtual scavenger hunts.