Facebook is Nearby – are you?
Published: February 22, 2013
Author: Mark John Hiemstra
As the weeks press on, we see Facebook investing more and more resources into ensuring that their mobile offering is one that will benefit both users and businesses. Just this past week, Bloomberg announced that Facebook will be launching a location-tracking application for Facebook users. Combine this with the new(ish) Facebook Nearby app, and you’ve got good reason to make sure that your business is one that can be found by Facebook Mobile Users.
Why Track Location?
The benefit to the user is that they get to find out where their friends are hanging out and maybe even hook up with someone who checks in somewhere close by. You could, conceivably, find out if your husband is going to be home late because there’s bad traffic due to a stall, or even check to see that your best friend coming in for your wedding has safely arrived at the airport. Google Latitude users are already doing this, and Apple’s Find My Friends service does something similar.
With Facebook getting ready to enter the arena, businesses are going to want to make sure that they’re on the map, literally and figuratively, by having a presence and letting others let their friends know where they are. We all know that the success of a business, especially a club or a restaurant, has a lot to do with what someone’s friends are saying about it, and seeing that someone is at your location regularly could be enough to convince an individual that it’s time to check it out as well.
The wonderful thing about a mobile device is the information readily available with regards to your current location. One need no longer wonder if there is something to eat close by — just pull out that phone and do a search.
Facebook is counting on people using their service to fulfill this need, and, anytime there is even a chance that you can reach a new, in-the-vicinity customer looking for exactly what your business provides, it’s more than a little bit important to be present for that eventuality.
Time to Optimize
This is preparing to be a new form of search engine optimization. The Facebook Nearby algorithm is going to be providing people results on certain criteria that you will have to meet in order to show up in those results.
Obviously, having a Facebook Page is step one. And, as always, providing your customers with such good service that they will be proud to check in to your business and maybe even give it a little review and rate it highly is a key factor. Facebook’s algorithm will be looking at the number of check-ins and ratings when providing results, so give these folks a reason to do so!
You need to get your audience talking about you. This was, of course, always an intention, but now, more than ever, savvy business are going to have to find the means to get their potential audience on their side.
In addition, your About page needs to be optimized with proper business hours, the service you provide, and being listed in the proper category. Using language that describes what you do in order to fulfill a search request is a huge part of helping you get found. Make sure that yours is speaking to your customers, and to the algorithm that will help them find you.
And make sure that your Facebook Page doesn’t just sit there gathering dust. Keep on posting relevant information about your business, as you may start to see more traffic to your page from mobile devices. Your content plan is going to be a huge part of this operation, so make sure that you’ve got it mapped out to engage customers in a relevant and timely way.
The goal of every marketing campaign, including content marketing ones, is to make people aware of your business, establish some level of trust with those people, and convince them that yours is the product that they want to spend their money on more than any of the other products and services that they have been introduced to in a day.
Location Searches are Pre-Qualified
People who are searching for your business and are in your vicinity are almost as pre-qualified as they come. They have expressed an interest in what you do, and you need to show them that your business is the one where they should be spending their hard-earned money. By increasing your visibility, providing excellent service that customers are proud to talk about, and sharing content that is relevant and engaging, you can take advantage of Facebook’s location services and meet new customers, and keep your existing customers happy.
– Mark John Hiemstra