Facebook local businesses aren’t being hit as hard by the recent algorithm updates. The larger the businesses, the harder they’ve been hit by the recent News Feed updates, which have reduced organic reach to almost nothing.
Fortunately, though local businesses can still use Facebook Pages to engage with their customers.
This article covers Place Tips, a recent feature that can help local businesses present information to customers who are already nearby.
About Facebook Place Tips
Facebook Place Tips are a new feature for Facebook on iPhone. Notifications at the top of an iPhone show friends’ posts or content relevant to a location or business.
For Place Tips to work, the users must meet a few criteria:
- They must be using an iPhone.
- They must be in a location that supports Place Tips. For now, they are only supported in a “limited area.”
- Users must opt-in to Place Tips. And they must allow location tracking.
- Place Tips are currently generated by a person’s location. Facebook is also experimenting with Blue-tooth low energy beacons, which would trigger a Place Tip when the user is nearby.
The Place Tips themselves can include a variety of “card” types:
- Info cards, similar to Google’s Knowledge Graph, that display a few quick facts about the location.
- Geo-tagged photos taken by friends.
- Friends’ posts that are relevant to the location.
- Posts and photos by the business itself.
- Other specific information about the business, such as menu items, reviews, and so forth.
These Place Tips are still in the early stages. Clearly, they are still an experiment in the works.
But if they do pan out, then Place Tips can be a useful way to provide information to customers who are already nearby.
Best of all, this service is free.
How to Use Place Tips to Engage Customers
One excellent feature of Place Tips is the fact that users are presented with information that’s immediately relevant to them.
This allows businesses to present to users that already have intent. That is, businesses can promote their services to people who are browsing, shopping, and so on.
Here are a few types of information that can be conveyed to customers:
- Upcoming events
- The most popular menu items
- Featured products or services
When a local business can provide this information to on-site customers, for free, at the right time, then this can offer some serious benefits.
While national companies are being hurt by Facebook’s News Feed updates, local businesses may want to ramp up their Facebook Page marketing.
Place Tips is still in trial. But if a business wants to be included in the pack when Place Tips arrives, it pays to be prepared.
Here are a few tips for getting ready to market with Facebook’s Place Tips:
Optimize every part of your Facebook presence.
Everything from Facebook Pages to posts should be optimized.
Facebook Pages should be complete:
- The location information, website information, phone numbers, hours of operation, and the about tab’s description should all be filled out.
- There should be plenty of photos that include descriptions.
- Products and services should be described in detail.
- Menus, schedules, and other business-specific information should be included in relevant posts and Page tabs.
Also make sure to update the Page on a regular basis whenever there is new, relevant information.
Create events on Facebook.
Events are one category that show up in Facebook Place Tips. So when your store has a special event, it’s pretty likely that the event will show up in Place Tips.
Offer incentives for customers to check in on Facebook.
Facebook rewards active users. So make your business more active by having users check in. This should increase your chances of being included in Place Tips.
Offer incentives for users to post about your business.
User-generated content is another type of content that’s included in Facebook Place Tips. So if more people write and post about your business, then you’ll see more activity in Place Tips.
Offer discounts, rewards, or other incentives to garner positive reviews, photos, tags, check-ins, and so on.
Be sure to share, comment, and like posts that users make about your business.
In addition to earning your business more traction with Place Tips, this is just good social media marketing – you’ll increase your local Facebook presence and make people more aware of your business.
Pay for Promoted Posts.
When Place Tips takes off, it will become a competitive arena. And paying for Promoted Posts will show Facebook that your business is engaged.
Doing this can increase exposure naturally, which will have a ripple effect and boost user-generated content.
Over time Facebook Pages have decreased their organic reach for large businesses. And Place Tips may be a strategy for Facebook to induce paid competition from local businesses down the line. But since this type of geo-triggered marketing can be very effective, it’s certainly worth exploring.