Checking In on Facebook Places


Pun intended, for sure.

It’s been a couple of weeks since Facebook launched its Places feature – a geolocation function that let’s users identify their location within their social networks. I’ve seen a number of posts and articles by sports marketers about integrating Facebook Places/FourSquare into their promotional mix.

Here’s my 2 cents…

While I will agree that Places/FourSquare presents some interesting and engaging opportunities, my own experience has shown that it’s still the early days for these tools.

FourSquare does have a growing user base, but I’ve found that it still requires a fair amount of education to enable fans to use it effectively in promotions. I’m not suggesting to drop the idea of using it, but right now, my opinion is that the time required to educate and inform is greater than the benefits or rewards.

Moving forward, I would look to include a geolocation feature to a promotion, but would probably hold back on building a promo that only focused solely on that platform. Start small, and look to enhance social projects with a check-in element. For example, if you were building a promo that supported a multi-location sponsor in your market, you could offer a tiered prizing/award structure that offered something for check-ins as well as for entries for less savvy,yet still socially aware/active fans.

Ultimately, the last thing you want to do is create a digital divide. Don’t forget, there are a number of privacy concerns that were raised with this launch. So start small, measure and assess your results and continue to plan from there. Be prepared to teach your fans along the way.

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