As defined in our previous Facebook Places Series, business owners can “claim” a Facebook Place to control content on the Place Page. A business can claim their Place one of two ways.
Retail businesses typically will have a phone number pre-associated with a location. Localeze was used to pre-populate nearly 600,000 business-verified and managed listings. Once a user confirms that they are the official representatives from that company, they will receive a phone call at the number listed on Facebook for that business. At this point, the business owner will receive a 4-digit code to enter into Facebook to verify the “Place”.
When a Facebook user creates a location on their own, or for businesses which do not generate a lot of foot traffic, there may not be a pre-defined telephone number established. At this point, the business is asked to provide one of the following as verification.
1) Articles of Certificate of Incorporation (for a corporation)
2) Certificate of Formation (for a partnership)
3) Local Business License (issued by your city, county, or state)
4) Better Business Bureau (BBB) Accreditation
Once a business is claimed, administrators can be assigned in the same fashion as brand Pages. Administrators can then customize description, address and business hours fields.
A claimed places page also has the added benefit of having an enhanced places view on a mobile device. We’ve claimed our place at Vitrue where you can now see a wall, info and photos alongside “Activity” which is a summary of check-ins.
At this time, not all Places can “merge” with a Page. If the business is limited to one physical location (typically local businesses), you may be prompted to merge your Place with another Facebook Page you are also an administrator of after you successfully claim your Place. Facebook’s Guide for Businesses recommends merging your Pages if:
1) You are prompted to merge
2) You have just one physical store location
3) You have one Facebook Page representing your business
Merging a Page and a Place allows administrators to manage everything from a single, newly designed Place Page. Brands can still interact with Facebook users that already “like” the brand Page. The new merged Place Page design incorporates existing Page content & tabs (photos, videos, events, custom tabs, etc) with check-ins and Place maps.
With Places in it’s early stages, we suggest only merging a Page with a Place if you have one, physical location and one Facebook Page for that specific company. If you are a brand with multiple locations, it may be best to claim your Place but hold off on merging Places with Pages until more information is available on how this will affect multi-location businesses. Here at Vitrue we have already started working with some of our major clients, which fall into this category, along with Facebook.
Have you claimed your Place and not sure what the next steps are? The final parts of our Facebook Places series discuss the importance of a Facebook Places strategy and how to use Places to benefit brands.