Among the great products launched by Facebook, Facebook Places has been one of the greatest. Facebook Places went live on 18 August 2010.
It is a product for both local businesses and Facebook users alike, especially since the launch of Deals.
What are Facebook Places?
When a Facebook user checks in to a location using his/her iPhone, Android phone, BlackBerry or via touch.facebook.com, he/she is automatically connected to what is called a “Place Page” for that local business on Facebook.
Claiming Place Page
Place Pages look similar to a Business (Fan) Page. They emphasize on an interactive map from Bing at the very top. Just like a Business Page, there is a wall. You can also see your check-ins plus the total check-ins.
The first time a venue gets “checked-in” to by any Facebook user, Facebook instantly creates a Place Page for their business. After that, the owner of that business has the burden of searching and finding the Place Page on Facebook and claiming the business.
If you own that business, you can claim that place page with the following procedure:
STEP 1 – Open the page and click the following button which you usually click to Report a page. A menu will appear.
STEP 2 – Select the option – “Is this your business?”
STEP 3 – You will be asked to follow a series of steps. Follow the steps that appear on your screen. Add and verify information about your business like the address and website and click Continue.
STEP 4 – Facebook will ask you to claim your Page to prevent other people from becoming an admin without your permission. Choose to verify your connection to the business by Email or by uploading Documentation
(i) Email – Choose this option if you have an email address associated with your Facebook account that is officially issued to you by your business. Email addresses from generic providers like Yahoo! or Gmail will not be accepted. The email address should correspond to your business‘s name (like firstname.lastname@example.org).
(ii) Documentation – Upload a scan or photo of an official document that shows your business‘s name and address (ex: phone bill, business license, business tax file, articles of incorporation, etc.).
STEP 5 – Click Submit.
Please allow up to one week for the Pages team to review your claim request and respond. If your request is accepted, you become an admin of the Page and can begin managing it.
As a businessman (or woman), once you claim Facebook Place page you have some editing control in terms of the profile picture.
Can a place page be merged with a business page?
The procedure for merging two pages can be found here.
Is it OK to merge Facebook Place Page with Business Page?
Earlier, for local business, Place Pages were yet another piece of logistical management, on top of their regular Business Page, Community Page(s), Events, and possibly Groups. However, later, Facebook offered the ability to MERGE your Place Page with your Business Page, assuming you had an obvious connection between the two.
However, if you have multiple locations with multiple Place Pages, you cannot merge all of them into one Business Page. For some small businesses, this new merged Page might be ideal. However, many business owners are extremely dissatisfied with this feature.
Is it possible to unmerge the pages?
The small business that uses Facebook is close to 700. And still growing. The new layout does not impress them.
The “Unmerge Places & My Business Page” fan page sprung up on Facebook. Users are posting their concerns about the merged Pages on the wall, along with adding to this, is a lengthy discussion thread on Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page. Many users were choosing to abandon their merged Page and start from scratch.
This made Facebook add the option to UNMERGE your Place Page and Fan Page. On the lower left of Merged Page, you will see the link to “Unmerge all Merged Places.”
Are there any benefits of Merged Pages?
Following are the benefits of Merged Pages:
1. With merged pages, you can have one central location to manage your Facebook fans and activity.
2. You can promote Deals to entice more fans to come to your premises.
3. Your merged page can appeal to those early adopters who are all into location-based services and love to check-in. In case they are not familiar with the concept of checking in on Facebook, you can also educate them by explaining it to them.
Do you own a local business? How merged pages have helped you? Share your feedback with us.