If you haven’t been paying attention Facebook announced Places* last week (see here for background and explanation).
Online checkin has become increasingly popular for NetGen users recently, with Foursquare leading the way. But now that Facebook has added this capability for its half a billion users, the dynamics of this market suddenly change.
Research shows that consumers trust recommendations from friends 2-3x more than other forms of online advertising. What this means is that there is an opportunity here for smart professional services firms to tap into Places for marketing purposes: Each time someone checks in at your business they are telling their friends about you. That’s free advertising for you! So, think about how you can encourage that behaviour – perhaps you can just ask, or perhaps you could provide special offers to clients willing to do that. Then the next time someone exchanges contracts on their dream property, you’ll know that they have told all their Facebook friends about you!
(*) At the time of writing Facebook Places is a US only service, but Facebook has plans to roll it out globally as soon as possible.