Since Facebook introduced its Deals product for local businesses last year, more and more business owners are claiming their venues and offering specials to guests that check-in. In addition to being able to offer specials, claiming your venue page offers the benefit of being able to merge it with your brand’s existing Facebook Page.

Here’s a step-by-step guide for claiming your venues on Facebook Places:

1.  Find your business’s venue page on Facebook.

The first step is to search for and locate your business’s venue page on Facebook.  You can start by searching with the normal search box in Facebook.  If your business contains a common name like “Joe’s Hot Dogs,” it may take some time to browse through the results to find your exact venue.

2.  Start the venue claim process.

On your venue page, look for the “Is this your business?” link in the lower-left corner of the screen.  Click this to start the venue claim process.  Next, click the check box to certify that you are an official representative of your business.

3.  Complete the venue claim process

Next, Facebook will go through a process to certify that you are a representative of this business.

If your business has a publicly-listed telephone number, Facebook will provide you with a code and will call your business’s phone to complete the process.  This can be completed very quickly.

If Facebook cannot locate a publicly-available phone number for your business, it will ask you to do one of two things:

  1. Add your business email address to your Facebook account.  (Your email domain must be identical to your business name.  For example, if your business is Joe’s Donuts, your email should be [email protected])
  2. Upload a scanned copy of paper documentation that indicates you are the owner of this business.  Facebook recommends using a phone or utility bill.

Using this process, it can take Facebook days or weeks to complete your venue claim process.

4.  Once your venue claim process is complete, you’ll be able to update your venue page and merge it with your Facebook Page.

After you’ve successfully claimed your venue page, Facebook will present you the option to merge your venue Place page with your normal Facebook Page.  Currently, Facebook only recommends merging your venue page and your Facebook Page if you operate a single location or store.  If you operate multiple stores or locations, Facebook does not recommend merging your venue and Page together yet.  (Facebook may release better tools for managing multiple venues in the future.)

5.  Add check-in specials

Your business may be able to drive more traffic to your store by offering a “check-in” deal to customers.  Deals work especially well for high-traffic businesses like restaurants, bars, hotels and retail shops.  See our recent post that explores the types of check-in deals your business should be running.

Congratulations!  You’ve now successfully claimed your Facebook Places venues and can now offer check-in specials and incorporate your venue pages into your Facebook Page. Check back here for future posts on how to claim your Foursquare and Gowalla venues.
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