This is post number six in a series of posts from Online Marketing Strategist Tommy Walker. If you have questions, leave a comment here or visit with Tommy on Twitter at@tommyismyname.

Are you a brick and mortar business owner?

Have you claimed your Place on Facebook yet?

If you answered no, I would like to take the next few minutes to give you a crash course education on one of the biggest free opportunities that you’re missing out on.

Mobile Facebook users are doing the heavy lifting for you.

There are plenty of reasons why you should be on Facebook, but if you’re a local business owner, Facebook Places should be number one.


People are already using it. Where 50% of Facebook’s users are mobile, a good percentage of them are creating and checking themselves and their friends into places in the real world.

Most businesses have to do virtually nothing to get themselves started.

When a user “checks-in” to your location, a story is automatically uploaded to theirs and their friend’s walls saying they at your business. If your Place isn’t already in Facebook’s database, most users will create the place just so they can check in. A check in gives your business that social proof that is so vital in today’s economy (more on that in a minute)

Most users will “Like” the Place Pages they check into, giving that Place Page permission publish updates to that person’s News Feed. If you know how to stand out in the News Feed, you will have a great chance at getting people to interact with you not just online, but in your store as well. Note: You can only publish to fans News Feed if the Place Page is linked to your Fan Page. Fortunately claiming a Place Page takes about 5 minutes.

If you haven’t claimed your Place Page, you’re neglecting interaction with your most valuable customers- people “checking in” are physically at your location and promoting you to their friends. Don’t you think they might want to hear from you on a regular basis?

Facebook Places makes Deal delivery brainless.

If you aren’t familiar with Facebook Deals, Deals is an extension of Places that allows businesses to reward people for “checking in”, offering a number of “reward” systems, such as a loyalty program that acts as a virtual punch card, leaving a punch every time a user “checks in” and issuing a reward (such as a coupon) by the company. No punch cards to remember, just check in and that’s it.

This sort of hyper local, mobile experience can do some really incredible things for a business. Not only is the user getting rewarded for “checking in” but that checkin also gets published to their friends News Feed, offering that social proof that businesses are so desperately looking for in today’s online landscape.

Are you missing the two critical pieces of marketing?

If you’re running a brick and mortar business and you’re not rewarding people for “checking in” you’re easily missing two critical pieces of your marketing, customer acquisition and customer retention.

The acquisition comes from the ever increasingly important “Social proof” element we talked about earlier. Your customer’s friends seeing “John Smith checked in at (insert your business here)” lets people know that your business is a cool place to spend money. That check in acts as a vote and shows others that your business has value and it’s ok to spend money with you. Where people have become so acutely aware of their financial situations, that check in could mean the difference between gaining a new customer or experiencing another missed opportunity.

Likewise rewarding people for “checking in” gives people a reason to come back and ultimately continue to promoting your business. By saying “buy 5 crepes, get 1 half off” you’re giving a customer a reason to come back. You’re also further solidifying your chances of getting those 5 “check ins”, which should not be taken lightly.

The average user on Facebook has 180 friends, a good majority of them being people they went to high school with and other people whom they are locally connected. By rewarding that person to “check in” multiple times, you’re significantly increasing your chances of being seen by those 180 new people.

And that’s only by encouraging only 1 person to check in.

So what are you waiting for?

Stop neglecting your customers, and start rewarding those who willingly promote you.

Even if you don’t link your Place Page to your Fan Page, you can still reward people for doing something they’re already doing by hooking them up with Deals.

As a side note, By using Deals you’re also saving a couple of trees and a few orders of punch cards.

Look at you making people happy and saving the Earth and stuff.

Read more: How To Claim Your Venues On Facebook Places