As Facebook Places finally hits the streets, at the time of writing not in the UK yet, it may now be time for location based marketing to have it’s day. I have always been a strong supporter of location marketing and for many small businesses it is what is required for them to take full advantage of the lower cost base of online advertising and promotion.
What is going to be great about Facebook Places is that unlike Foursquare or Gowalla it will not rely on the front runners or the tech savvy to download the app and start using it. It is integrated into a platform already used by many everyday end users. At the same time it will allow early adopters to carry on using other platforms as they are all integrated to some extent with Facebook Places.
This is the big difference and I why I believe it will start a seismic shift in the way we market locally. Corner shops, pubs, restaurants, and other types of outlet on the high street will now be able to justify investing time on Facebook. It will undoubtedly lead to new innovation from Facebook app builders allowing Facebook Page owners to integrate some type of location recognition into their page.
It won’t just be about offers and discounts either, as many using it will already have networks established over the months and years of Facebook use. Unlike Foursquare where networks need to be recreated, another difference is that Facebook networks tend to be localised. You will have larger percentage of your network local to you or even related to you on Facebook than any other type of network. Leading to more trustworthy and ultimately more useful recommendations.
There is no point in my Twitter network, many whom live 10s of miles away from me or even in other countries, knowing I am having a 2 for 1 dinner in my favourite restaurant. But on Facebook it will be friends and family who will see these updates and are more likely to take my recommendation.
Overall this should lead to more direct use of Social Media by small high street business as the potential will be much more significant. Certainly it will be far more measurable than any other marketing campaigns they run.