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Social MobileFacebook Places is a check-in service on Facebook that allows brands to build their fan base, as well as engage and reward their customers.  The great part about Facebook Places is that it is on Facebook!  This means that there is an in-built potential for viral marketing. Every check-in will show up on the news feed of the user’s friends.

Unlike other options which give consumers incentives to visit your physical location (like Groupon and Living Social), Facebook Places lets you structure your offer exactly as you want with no fee.  You can choose how discounts are claimed and how many people can claim it.  Charity offers can be created where donations are based on the number of check-ins.

Here are 8 examples of creative uses of Facebook Places.

1.      You can promote an event.  As an example Electronic Arts UK hosted a Play4Xmas tour at shopping malls across the UK.  Those who checked in to each event could win up to 10 games per day.

2.      You can co-brand. So Nike teamed up with a Portland-based Korean taco truck and gave away fake burritos stuffed with branded athletic jackets to anyone who checked in.

3.      You can recruit.  The University of Kentucky created Facebook icons all around its campus to encourage student check-ins.  The college hopes to use this attention to help boost recruiting efforts for the students’ friends who are still attending high school.

4.      You can steal your competitors thunder.  Germanwings decided to pass on paying for an exhibition table at the ITB Berlin (the world’s biggest travel tradeshow).  What they did instead was use Facebook Place to create check-ins at each one of its competitors at the fair. When someone checked in at an airline’s booth they would get a message like “Air France: France for a bargain price available only from Germanwings”

5.      You can support your favorite charity.  Southwest Airlines made a $1 donation for the Make-A-Wish Foundation per check-in at any Southwest airport and amassed $300,000 for the charity.

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