There are two different Facebook pages that you should know about if you’re serious about social media marketing. First is the Facebook Fan page. Any type of business can create a a business page that can be used to accumulate fans, post new status messages, and manage a variety of tabs like you see in the image below:
On the other hand is the Facebook Places page. Facebook Places is a separate business page that shows up in Places searches. Having a Place page gives you the power to offer your customers “check-in” Places deals and provides a separate avenue for businesses to acquire followers and market their services. However, only businesses that have a physical location and interact directly with customers are eligible to get listed on Facebook Places. So if you are a eligible local business and interested in a Facebook Places page but haven’t registered one yet, all you have to do is find your Place Page by searching Facebook Places. If you can’t find your Place Page, you may need to add your Place to Facebook’s listings. Once you’ve found or added your Places page, click on the “Is This Your Business?” link on the lower left side of your page: However, if you are a savvy online marketer that already has both a Fan page and Places page, then get ready to take advantage of a new Facebook feature that might boost your online marketing! Fan Pages can now merge with “Place pages” thanks to Facebook Places. What are the advantages of merging your Facebook Fan Page with your Place page? Merging your Facebook pages centralizes the parameters of discussion between you and your customers and partners, making it easier to manage your marketing message and interact with your clients. This also allows you to post updates and specials for all the people that like your Place page and have checked in there. In addition, customers can also leave a comment or review so their friends can see when they visit your location and what they thought of it. This is instant referral business and can serve as a free form of online advertising! Merging your Fan page with your Place page will directly associate your business with anyone checking into your location and commenting about it. Customers won’t have to “like” your location to check-in, but when they do check-in, all of their Facebook friends will see where they have been. Maybe their friends didn’t know about your location before. How’s that for free advertising? However, this latest feature is not all positive and merging your pages does have some downsides. For example, merging Facebook pages will remove tabs and any FBML landing pages that you currently have. This means all your tabs will be gone! So if you rely on a landing page to explain your service to clients (like Red Bull below), then you’ll either have to come up with a new way to market your Facebook page or avoid the merge altogether. With the merged place, you can still display custom FBML designs using images that are about 490 pixels wide. These will be displayed on the side, in non-tab spaces. Be certain that all content and images are adapted to fit the new specifications before merging your pages. Here’s an example of what a merged page looks like, keep in mind it hasn’t been filled out yet: While some social media marketers are warning against the merge because you cannot undo the change, we at chatmeter feel that the rapid growth of the social media industry means that Facebook, and all social media sites for that matter, will continue to upgrade their services. Even if you find that merging your pages wasn’t right for you, rest assured that Facebook will likely continue to upgrade its page layouts and improve the marketing opportunities for businesses, so don’t worry too much. Our official diagnosis is that merging your Place page and your Fan page provides some marketing benefits, but we still recommend proceeding with caution. If you aren’t overly reliant on your Fan Page tabs and you think your business would benefit by merging your pages, then give it a try and tell us what you think of it. We’d love to hear your feedback on whether you think merging your pages is a good idea!