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Facebook Places- Where Are you?

For years, since the beginning of the World Wide Web, its mission has been to globalize, to connect, to turn us into a global village. Geography did not matter much anymore.

These days the trend seems to turn inward, to localization. Google places shows businesses listings first when the query includes a specific place. Different mobile Social Media tools like Foursquare and Gowalla appeared, aiming to help friends tell other friends where they and connect with them physically.

There is no one bigger than Facebook in the Social Media world. With over 500,000,000 users and growing, it is the king supreme of virtual friendship. How ironic it is that now they are trying to help you connect locally and physically.

In August 2010, Facebook started operating its Facebook Places, an application that with the help of GPS, lets users check in on their mobile phones and show their location, in hope that if you are close, you might swing by and spend time together. That put businesses in the middle of the social game.

You can leave comments on Facebook about the places you’ve frequented. Cheers and jeers alike. You can recommend a certain dish, complain about the service or by leaving a recommendation you can introduce people to a new place.

About a week ago, on November 3, 2010,   Facebook’s Mark Zuckerman unveiled new features on their mobile app for iPhones and Androids, and this addition makes it much more interesting to business owners.

The new applications are called “Deals” and “Single Sign-On” and they aims to change the way customers and businesses interact.

Deals – this app allows business owners deliver information about specials and discounts to their customers, which are redeemable when the user ‘checks in’ at the place. It also allows customers to posts deals they have found, and when friends use the establishment they also get a discount.

Business owners can turn their customers into an extended sale force by peer recommendation on Facebook.

Businesses can also offer deeper discounts to friends who bring friends with them, or friends who heard about the deal through the first source. Each customer becomes a potential sales agent.

‘Deals’ has three different types of rewards a business can offer. It can be based on “loyalty,” on being “friends” or for “charity.”

The app tracks each time a specific person visits a store and takes advantage of a deal. This way, businesses can offer incentives to their most loyal customers.

The “Single Sign-On” app brings benefits to users and business owners and provides more connectivity. This feature allows Facebook users to log in and access other social media sites like Groupon and Yelp without having to log in separately. Those companies have now a new marketing tool and the ability to get to thousands of new customers.

Location-based technology has become an essential part of building solid, lasting relationships with the customers, say representatives of Facebook. If before business owners did not know why they have to be on the social network sites, now they have a definite reason to do so.

And it might be a game changers when it comes to e commerce and business advertising.

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  1. […] business. Such as check is three times to receive a special offer. Here is a great blog post on Facebook places by Basil C. […]

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