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Facebook Places for Business – Social Media Examiner TV Episode 3

It’s time for another episode of Social Media Examiner TV! This time, Mike Stelzner and I decided to focus exclusively on a major new Facebook feature: Places. It’s basically Facebook’s venture into the world of “Location Based Services,” similar to the popular platform, Foursquare, which we featured on SMEtv Episode #1.

Be sure to view to the end for a Hot Facebook Marketing Tip! 🙂

Only In The United States?!

Facebook Places is still extremely new and is only available in the United States and only on iPhones or via geo-enabled mobile devices where you can go to http://touch.facebook.com.

However, TechCrunch reported a fascinating story about Facebook Places working in Canada!

Mari Smith & Sam Russell

Mari Smith & Sam Russell | Credit: Janna Waldinger www.artclarity.com

Plus, I just had a house guest for the past week – Samantha Russell visiting from Southampton in the UK; we were both fascinated to see Facebook Places came up on her British iPhone! Sam could see other friends checked in and it was as if the app was really wanting to work, but we couldn’t quite get her checked in – it just went to an error message.

But the pushpin icon was clearly on the dashboard and on the publisher. Hmm. We figured, surely if Facebook Places is not available in the UK, it wouldn’t even show up as a clickable/viewable option! Hmm. 😉

Why Would You Want To “Check In?”

Here’s Facebook’s own promotional video to help you further understand exactly what this new feature is and does:

Clearing Up Privacy Myths About Check-Ins and Places

As Facebook is rather renowned for, there were a couple of Privacy settings where the default did not necessarily consider the user first. For example, when Facebook Places initially launched on August 18, 2010, your friends could automatically “tag” you in a check-in without your permission… unless you knew to turn off this setting.

There was quite a bit of pushback and confusion among users, so Facebook created this helpful video to help educate their users on Privacy concerns specifically around check-ins/Places:

Fortunately, Facebook have since changed the automatic tag setting… yet, if your friend checks you in, the check-in post goes out and asks you if you’re okay with it. If you’re not comfortable with the idea that your Facebook friends could say you’re with them, you may want to go ahead and turn off this feature. Here’s how:

Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Customize Settings. Under “Things others share” look for the “Edit Settings” button next to “Friends can check me in to Places.” Click the button and in the pop up, click Disabled.

You might feel more comfortable with unchecking the following setting too: just above the “Things others share” section, look for the “Include me in ‘People Here Now’ after I check in” setting and uncheck the box.

And a third setting that you may wish to consider is *your* information that is accessible by applications and websites when your friends use said apps and sites.

Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites (bottom left) > click Edit your settings > next to “Info accessible through your friends” click the Edit Settings button > uncheck Places I check in to.

If you haven’t yet been using location-based services like Foursquare or Gowalla, you may be happier with these tighter privacy settings for Facebook Places.

See this post for additional information and suggestions on Privacy settings as a user:

Facebook Places: Your Friends Are Here, But What About Your Privacy?

Plus, here’s a direct link to Facebook’s Help section for Places.

Add Facebook Places To Your Fan Page

InsideFacebook.com revealed a new app by Context Optional that allows fan page owners to add a “Check-in” tab that displays a “Leaderboard” of all the Facebook users who have checked in at your venue. This is awesome news for local businesses (in the US, for now); you can easily identify your top fans, run special promotions for the leader and all the while getting more engagement and activity going on your Facebook Page!

So, have you been checking-in with Facebook Places as a user? What do you think? If not, why not? As a business owner, can you see the benefits? Let me know in the comments below. Also, do let me know what additional topics you’d like to see covered in future Social Media Examiner TV shows! (See the SMEtv channel here).

P.S. Do you have your tickets yet for the Facebook Success Summit? September 16th is the LAST day for the awesome half-price special! 🙂 I look forward to connecting with you in the virtual classroom!

Mari Smith

Premier Facebook Marketing Expert | Social Media Thought Leader | Keynote Speaker | Ambassador Wave.video, Agorapulse, HubSpot, BuzzSumo | Columnist Bank of America

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