Facebook Page, Places or Both?

I first wrote this post for the Media Two blog Media Two Point {oh!}. They’ve been awesome enough to let me repost it here.

We recently got a question asking if a business with a physical location should have a Facebook page, a Facebook Places page or both. We thought it would be a good question to answer here for everyone to read. If you have differing opinions than what I have in this post, please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear what you think.

From experience I’ve had with my clients, I think it is absolutely necessary for a business to have a Facebook business page. Although I mostly work with consumer-based clients, I recently attended a HubSpot webinar, which suggested that B2B businesses have an advantage over B2C in social media. Facebook pages work for both.

A Facebook page allows public interaction with a company like no other platform:

  • Posts are all in one place. A place where the brand has a certain amount of control over the conversation. For example, you can remove comments that are inappropriate, and steer the conversation in a more positive direction.
  • The shelf-life of a single post is significantly longer than a tweet. Because of this customer service can become more efficient. If one customer asks a question, and you answer it publicly on the wall, other customers can see the answer without asking it themselves. Customers can also develop a positive outlook on your brand because they see that you are dedicated to the individual customer through your responses.
  • The word of mouth marketing that goes along with a post on your brand’s Facebook page is invaluable. When a customer interacts with your page, it appears in that user’s friends’ news feeds. This simple mention can act as a personal referral to your brand.
  • Oh and there’s this little factor: Facebook has over 600 million users as of January 5, 2011, and is the most visited site on the entire web. Yes, even more than Google.

Facebook pages relate to all businesses, whether they have a physical location or not. However, if you are a business with a physical location, I think it could only benefit you to also have a Facebook Places page.

Social media is going mobile, and the trend of location-based services is booming. Foursquare–the most popular service right now–has over 7 million users as of March 2011. If your customers want to check in, you should have that available for any major platforms they want to use. People are crazy like that. They want to be catered to.

The benefit of your Places page – over other location-based services – is that when users check in, it goes out to their friends’ news feeds, and can act as a referral for your brand – like with business page interactions. The benefit to claiming your Places page, is that you have admin rights on the page, and can send users update and change company info.

The good news is that  having both doesn’t have to be a lot of extra work for you. Facebook offers a way to merge the two, so that you can only monitor one page. Thank you, Facebook. Of course, this only makes sense if you have one physical location. There is talk of Facebook offering a solution to companies with more than one location.

If you’d like to merge your pages,  CDG Interactive has a set of step-by-step instructions. It’s actually really simple.

What are your thoughts on Facebook Pages and Places?

Photo by dnfisher