How to use Facebook event check-ins
Facebook is already one of the most popular ways for people to promote an upcoming event online, and now Facebook has made a major improvement to this service by giving users the ability to check-in at events.
The launch of the latest update to their iPhone app, includes functionality similar to the dedicated geosocial networking apps already on the market like Foursquare, Gowalla or Loopt.
The move follows the launch of Facebook Places last August and with it the ability to ‘Check-In’ to announce your location and tag your friends if they’re with you. This was swiftly followed by the launch of Facebook Deals, where businesses can reward users with offers in return for a check-in at a particular location.
Although Facebook Places already allowed for check-ins at specific venues, the new app functionality allows you to Check-In at Facebook Events. Version 3.4 of the app has some other nice additions; including the ability to view your friends’ locations on a map in Places.
Using Facebook Events for your Company
This is Facebook’s biggest move into geosocial networking, but still consistent with the company’s ethos, where an individual’s real-world location should be tied to their online activity on a social graph like Facebook. Beyond company philosophy, the move is also key in Facebook’s inevitable attempts to monetise its service following the continued decline in overall usage of Facebook Ads.
The attraction of engaging with small businesses and venues can be seen in the massive profits reaped by Google Ads and group buying site Groupon. Many small businesses focus their efforts on hyperlocal marketing, which has been revolutionised by geosocial networking – a type of social networking in which geographic services and capabilities such as geocoding and geotagging are used to enable additional social dynamics.
Eventually Facebook could act as a reasonably accurate map of its users’ activity, where status updates, relationship status, employment details and general preference combined with their physical location, tie in together for a more complete picture of Facebook users’ lives. Clearly, the opportunities to monetise from this activity are enormous, with extensions of Deals on Facebook Places as well as the ability to offer more analytics data on Facebook Insights to potential advertisers.
Facebook’s movement into this field has been slow, but now that they’ve started to actively encourage businesses to sign-up for Deals and to promote their events in real-time, companies can begin using these channels to better connect with potential customers on Facebook.
To check-in at an event you must first RSVP so it helps if you’ve been invited first. The app then checks the time and your location using your phone’s push notifications, if you’re in the right place at the right time, you’ll see the option to ‘Check In’ on the page of the event. Anyone who’s already at the event can be seen under a ‘Here Now’ heading.
If you don’t have an iPhone (and there’s no announced plan to roll the new functions out across Android or Blackberry phones as yet) you can test out the functions on Facebook’s desktop version of the mobile site Touch.Facebook.com