How Companies Reap Rewards with Facebook Places

Facebook Places, which launched last August following the rapid success of Foursquare and other location-based services, enables Facebook users to tell where they are and see where friends are, too. Savvy marketers are learning how to use this service as another good tool for business.

A recent article in Mashable offers a look at five companies who are using Facebook Places for viral marketing and incentives such as discounts or rewards for people to come to their events or physical stores. They’re taking advantage of the fact that every time a Facebook user checks in to a specific location on Facebook Places, that appears on their friends’ Facebook news feeds.

Here’s a look at a couple of the success stories.

Westfield Valley Fair, a shopping center in Santa Clara, CA in the heart of Silicon Valley, launched a location-based marketing program that gives shoppers merchant discounts when they check in via Facebook Places. The first campaign offered visitors a 15% discount coupon at Betsey Johnson if they visited and checked in at the shopping center. The company reported an increase in check-ins.

Last holiday shopping season, Electronic Arts UK offered Facebook fans a chance to win games by checking-in at the six events it held at shopping malls across the UK in November and December. The Facebook Places campaign generated hundreds of check-ins and tens of thousands of brand impressions through attendees’ Facebook news feeds.

The University of Kentucky turned to Facebook Places to boost its recruiting efforts among high school students. First it installed large wooden Facebook icons in the university’s signature blue color at different locations on campus to encourage students to check in around the school every day. The university reported that the campaign created a good deal of conversation on the campus, lots of people checking in while on campus and at sporting events, and assumes the news feeds have caught the eye of friends of the students who are still in high school.

Mashbable offers these four bits of advice for using Facebook Places. First, create and claim your Places page. Then merge your Places page with your Facebook Page. Encourage checkins. Finally, reward customers for checking in.