Facebook has announced that it will begin to roll out its new Wi-Fi service. Offered through a partnership with Cisco Meraki, this service provides customers with free Wi-Fi if they check into a local business’ Facebook page. While this can be incredibly convenient for customers, it also represents an enormous opportunity for businesses. By providing them with a page of the aggregated demographic information for those who check in and use this internet, the service allows companies to tailor their marketing strategies to more effectively reach those most likely to purchase their products or visit their locations.
Any business that uses a Cisco Meraki router can easily enable Facebook Wi-Fi. To enable it, the administrator of a business’ page simply opens the router preferences and activates the Facebook option. The configurator menu asks the administrator to then confirm their page, at which point everything goes live.
In addition to the aggregated demographic data provided to businesses by this service, it allows potential customers to better take advantage of a business’ mobile experience, a fact that Facebook recognized in another recent update.
Shortly before announcing its Wi-Fi service, Facebook unveiled a major update to the mobile version of the Pages section that is typically used to register business accounts. Designed to emphasize a cleaner appearance, the update has streamlined pages, emphasizing a business’ important information at the top of the page. The update also provides action buttons that allow the user to check in more easily, call the business, get directions, and rate the business on a five-star system. The traditional “write post” function has been removed from its prior, prominent location out of a desire to remove overall clutter from pages. The redesign also allows page administrators to “pin” important posts so that they appear at the top of the page.
These improvements allow Facebook to expand its functionality, offering not only a social platform for those who happen to frequent a business at the same time, but also an opportunity for businesses to establish a more traditional online presence that still contains an interactive component.
This improvement is hugely beneficial for small, local businesses, as it focuses primarily on business information and crowd-sourced ratings and recommendations, rather than emphasizing the social aspect advanced by the previous timeline system. Such an emphasis has become increasingly important in recent years, with an increasing amount of both online traffic and business existing in the mobile segment. This update is Facebook’s first major step towards completing with traditional review juggernauts like Yelp and Google.
With these improvements, Facebook has not only made a clear power play for a share of the mobile business world, but it has given small businesses the opportunity to engage with consumers like never before.
[Sources: Facebook, TechCrunch, HubSpot]