Facebook rolled out a new service a few months ago called Facebook Places.With it, Facebook is taking on Foursquare by offering a location-based business check-in tool. Like Foursquare, Places lets people share their whereabouts with their friends by “checking-in” to a business using their mobile phones. Whether it’s a cool tool or a creepy way to share way too much information is a debate for another post.
For a local business it makes sense to have a Facebook Place in order to track people who are stopping by at your office, store, or business. Facebook allows a business to merge their Page and Place listings. Don’t make the mistake of merging the two without first considering the implications. Let’s examine the pros and cons.
Benefits of merging include:
- One central location to manage your Facebook fans and activity.
- The ability to offer Facebook “Deals” When people check in to your business via Places, you can offer them coupons or promotions. Macy’s, for instance, is offering a 20% discount off select merchandise when you check-in.
The drawbacks of merging include:
- You can no longer choose a default landing tab. All the hard work that went into creating a customized “Welcome” tab optimized for conversions with calls-to-action, branded content, videos, etc. is no longer effective.
- The merged listing looks different than what fans are used to. The central focus is on the Bing map and the links previously located on the “Info” tab. The wall posts are now obscured.
- Once merged, you cannot go back to separate Place and Page listings. So, even if you wanted to test merging the two to see if the pros outweigh the cons, you cannot.
It’s up to you to decide whether the pros outweigh the cons. Have you merged your Page and Place listings? What would you like to see? Should Facebook offer the option to unmerge? Let us know your thoughts.