Facebook is making changes that make it easier for businesses to manage their Facebook presence and get customers to engage.
InsideFacebook reports that Facebook has confirmed with them that it has started bringing Facebook Places functionality (including Check-In Deals) to Facebook Pages that have street addresses. Local businesses, pay attention.
Josh Constine says: "Facebook tells us this automatic merge of Pages and Places 'makes things easier for Page administrators'. We agree that it is a better solution than the now removed option to manually merge Places with Pages. By expanding the number of Pages that can run Checkin Deals, Facebook may be looking to drive user awareness and engagement with the product and earn money off of it through ads promoting the incentives."
Local is an increasingly competitive space right now, and businesses have more and more ways to reach consumers online and through mobile devices than ever before. What will be particularly interesting to me is to see how this plays out with regards to competition with Google, which has essentially taken the place of yellow pages for many consumers.
Facebook is certainly not new to business pages, but the increased functionality, stacked up to new and forthcoming features for Google's Place Pages, means more direct competition as the go-to place for consumers to look up local business info, find deals, and even check in. Add to that, the fact that Bing continues to expand on its own Facebook integration and has made some big deals to greatly expand its mobile presence (via Microsoft partnerships with Nokia and RIM), and Google may end up feeling the heat from that angle as well.
Facebook also recently rolled out Page tagging in Photos. Google is actually sending photographers out to businesses to take professional shots of interiors for inclusion on Place Pages.