Your business may appear in two ways on Facebook: there’s the Page for your business, set up by you, and the Place, a simple name/address/phone listing page that Facebook has loaded on the site by the millions. When Facebook users, for instance, stop at a bar, they can find the Place on a mobile phone and tap to “check in,” letting their friends know their location.
And the bar can reward check-ins with a discount coupon that the customers show on their phones to redeem. Facebook intends to offer more features based on Places, so if you’re a local business, you will need to stay on top of this.
To get started, go to Facebook.com or download the Facebook mobile app to your phone, then follow these steps:
- Find your Place on the site or the app. If it doesn’t exist, you can create one through the app by tapping the “Add” button next to the search box (in fact, anyone can create a Place for your business).
- Claim your Place. Click the “Is this your business?” link on the Place. To verify that it’s your business, Facebook will ask for your phone number, an email address that includes the business name, a third party web listing (such as on Yelp) or an uploaded copy of a utility bill for the business location.
- Fill in your Place details. You can correct the address or phone information and add your hours of operation, prices and an image.
- Merge your Place with your Page. Click the “Merge with existing Page” link on the Place. Facebook will add to your Page the users who Like your Place, the check-ins, the address, the map of your location and other information.
Merging gets complicated if you have multiple locations for your business because you can’t merge multiple Places with a single Page; you need a Page for each of your locations to merge them.
You also need to claim your Place to offer check-in deals. Once claimed, you will see a “Create deal” button at the top right of your Place. That takes you to some forms to fill in. If you don’t see the button, the service may not be available in your area yet. Be aware that check-in deals may be on their way out, replaced by a new program, Facebook Offers. But for now, that’s only available to higher-budget Facebook advertisers.
You can choose to create one of four types of offers:
- Individual deal — a simple offer for a single check-in.
- Friend deal — requiring a group of up to eight people to check in.
- Loyalty deal — kicks in after a number of check-ins, like a loyalty card.
- Charity deal — a check-in triggers a contribution to a charity.
After you decide what to offer, write something brief about the offer. The customer will display the coupon on the phone to your employee to claim the deal. Next, set a run date, a quantity (for instance, ends after 100 redemptions—users can see a countdown on the deal offer) and rules for numbers of claims (once every 24 hours per user). If you want to offer deals across multiple locations, you will have to repeat the steps for each Place.
One tip: Plan ahead. Facebook wants to review all offers before making them live and requires at least 48 hours for approval. Self-serve publishing is in the works. As of this writing, Facebook Deals is a free service for merchants.
This article was updated on March 6, 2012 to reflect changes Facebook made to Facebook Places and check-in deals.