Ever wish you had ESP ? Facebook has invented something just as good. First there was Gowalla and Foursquare and now Facebook has joined the geolocation trend. Recently Facebook launched Facebook Places, an entity that is simultaneously an example of word-of-mouth and consumer psychology at work. I wrote a post several weeks back about the tie-in between Amazon and Facebook utilizing word of mouth to make shopping more social. Facebook Places takes that to another level by existing as a social networking tool that utilizes the power of word-of-mouth and the influence and weight of a friends’ opinion (which carries tremendous weight as I can tell you from my experience in retail) to drive business.
1) Facebook Places Connects the Virtual and Physical World: There are always those who say that social networking and technology are erasing face-to-face communication. Facebook Places encourages social networkers to get out and explore and bring their friends along. A log is kept in the virtual world of events taking place in the physical world. In fact, it could restore the value of face-to-face communication.
2) Facebook Places Gives Businesses More Visibility: By allowing businesses to connect with current and potential customers, distribute special offers and reward customer loyalty, business increases.
3) Facebook Places Drives Business: Friends see that friends of theirs are nearby at a business, chances are they will be enticed to join in and spend money at the same place their friends are at. At the very least they will see that a lot of their friends like particular places. Everyone wants to belong and the easiest way to belong is to conform to a set of beliefs and ideals that the group you want to be a part of has in common. Friends persuade friends, introduce friends, or recommend that friends try different products or services that they use everyday. Facebook Places makes this more public by displaying and distributing that information on a grand scale through announcing their location. Not so grand that users do not have control over privacy though.
With so many technological and social networking conveniences, the power and influence of word-of-mouth and face-to-face communication gets taken for granted. Facebook Places poses an interesting opportunity for a ’back-to-basics’ approach. It brings people together in the virtual and physical worlds simultaneously, offers businesses more visibility and because of that it drives business. In short, Facebook Places is a social networking tool with tremendous potential and benefits.