I recently talked about Google Places and its usefulness as a business tool in terms of optimising visibility through a location-based Google search. Well, another Places has been launched – this time Facebook Places. It’s only available in the US at the moment, but it won’t be long before it’s here.
In short, Facebook Places allows users to make their location known to friends and goes up against existing location-based social network rivals such as Foursquare and Gowolla.
In terms of Facebook’s growing importance as a business tool – something I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, Facebook Places will add to the social network’s attraction.
Charlotte McElney makes a very good point in Marketing Week about how businesses could maximise the potential of Facebook Places: she suggests that it could be used in conjunction with Facebook Answers (a Q&A service similar to Ask Jeeves) so that, should a question relate to a specific service request, the reply could be tailored to give a location-based answer. In short, the person asking the question is pointed towards a specific branch or store.
Another of her ideas is that Facebook Places could be tied in with a loyalty programme, allowing businesses to offer Facebook Credits as an incentive for visiting their stores.
There is a way to go yet with Facebook Places in terms of usability as a business tool, but I’m certain that it will come pretty quickly. I’ll be keeping an eye on how it develops, so no doubt I’ll be blogging again about this topic.
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