• Find duplicate listings of your establishment on Facebook.
• Quantify the lost opportunity over time in terms of potential awareness amongst friends of customers/visitors that “checked in” into a duplicate listing of your establishment.
• How you can stop the bleeding.
As a business owner of a physical establishment, have you ever looked at the “check in” option on Facebook on a users’ mobile phone as an advertising opportunity that you may not be making the most of? Chances are, that you may be leaving some advertising $$ on the table and you may not be the only one.
This is what the “check in” icon looks like for mobile users of Facebook.
A check-in is a way for user on Facebook to let their friends know “where” they are by updating their Facebook status. A check in offers a Business Owner the opportunity for free advertising as the name and link to the Official Facebook page of the business is included in a status update. This is what a Check-In looks like to friends.
Typically a user created listing will not have an images or updates. This fails to create any emotion in the mind of the viewers who view the status update or click on it.
I recently had the opportunity to test out the impact of the “Check Ins” for a client of mine. From the screen shot below, you can see that the Facebook page shows 6 check-ins. I downloaded Facebook Insights and found that in Calendar 2014 (Jan 1 to May 22, 2014) the merchant had had only 3 check-ins. This confirms that the count of 6 is an all time check-in count.
In order to complete a check-in user conducts a search on Facebook for the merchant establishment that they are in. In the case of this client, Facebook provided the following results.
Clearly, there is a duplicate listing with the same name and address as the official listing. The un-official page may have far fewer likes but had a lot more check-ins. It is possible Facebook knowing that I am a Page Administrator for the official page displayed search results in reverse order for me than it did for regular searchers.
The order of display could also have been influenced by the fact that I had never “liked” the duplicate listing.
When you pick the “Find all places” option from the search drop down box above, you will get a result like this (screen shot below), where the establishments with the same name are displayed on a map.
In this specific case, I found that the unofficial page which has had 1,102 people that had checked in (screen shot further below). If we assume a low number of 100 Facebook friends per user (http://www.marketingcharts.com/wp/online/18-24-year-olds-on-facebook-boast-an-average-of-510-friends-28353/), the maximum potential universe over time that this merchant could have reached via the “Facebook check-in” would be 110,200. That is some missed opportunity.
As a first step, I clicked on “Edit” in the screen shot above and marked this page as a duplicate of the official Facebook page.
Once I did that, I got the following dialog box. Waiting for additional votes to come in was not an option as I wanted to address this right away.
Confirm that you are an official representative of the Business trying to claim this page.
Enter Your Information
Pick the Verification Option
Option 1: Select an email address where the domain name matches the name of the business.
Option 2: Scan and upload a utility bill or some other documentation.
I scanned and provided a couple of government documents with the name and address of the restaurant to Facebook on May 23, 2014 and got the following onscreen message.
Please note that if you wish to provide more than one document, you will have to go through the process twice.
The next day I had two emails in my inbox from Facebook (one for each document submitted). The emails came into the email account related to my Facebook profile (as a page manager).
On May 26, I got an email from Facebook that they had approved the “claim”. They had made me a Page Manager for the duplicate listing too.
I then followed the steps outlined in this post on Facebook.
Specify which page you wish to keep and which pages you wish to have merged.
I had to do this many times as I kept getting a message saying that I should log in as myself (a personal account). I logged out, closed all other Facebook tabs and finally everything worked.
On May 27, when I searched for the merchant name location, I could not find the duplicate listing that I was trying to remove/merge.
The count for visitors that had checked in (and Likes) had increased. Both sets of numbers matched up if I added the Check Ins and Likes for the duplicate page to count of the Official page prior to the merger.
After the first week end since the transition, an additional 10 check-ins were achieved, as can be seen from the screen shot below.
The “Review” widget had also shown up. It is interesting to note that the “Reviews” from the duplicate listing did not transfer to the new page at the time of writing this. But hopefully, over time, new reviews will come in.
By June 4, though the Reviews had also been transferred successfully as can be seen in the screen shot below. The check-ins meanwhile continue to grow, day by day.
I am not sure if there is such a thing as being able to bar users from creating a listing of your business. Facebook does try and detect locations with the same names and addresses but that does not always work. I believe that running a check on your listings on a regular basis might be the best solution.
For a business with one or two locations, this is a feasible option. But for large franchises, a more scalable solution is required.
Far from it. Each social and maps platform has its own pros and cons. I will examine some of these in some subsequent posts.
I believe that for a business owner, the key is to:
I look forward to your comments on this post.
Harmit Kamboe (@harmitk) has been in the online marketing and eCommerce game since 1997, working in the Greater Toronto Area. He has worked both on the agency side and the client side. He has worked in a start up (founding employee) as well as large corporations.
Murray Newlands is an online marketing industry veteran, and the founder of TheMail.