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Facebook Places – make love, not war by claiming your Place



Perhaps you’ve heard?  Facebook recently released a new Check-In feature called Places.  Mostly, from what I read, people who comment on these sorts of things, they think it’s lame and useless.  I don’t know how it will all work out.  Actually nobody knows.  But generally speaking, my money’s on Facebook.  I see that when I click on my Facebook Places iPhone icon, plenty of people are checking in.

Rather than fight Facebook, you might want to make Facebook your friend, just in case, you know, it really takes off.

But before I share how to customize your own Facebook Places page, let me add my voice to the shouts about Places security settings.  The Facebook default for Places allows your friends to Check You In.  The first thing you might want to do is change your Facebook Places security setting.  If you don’t disable the feature, your friends can check you into places you’re really not at.  For example, you might be sitting at home watching New Jersey Housewives, and your loose cannon friend is checking you into a strip club, or worse, a Justin Beiber concert.

Here’s how to diable that feature. I’d go do that right now, then come back.

Back to customizing your Facebook Places Page – for your business

So the idea here is, instead of checking in at the Facebook default for your real estate office, you can create your own entry.  You can included your name, phone numbers, and a little promo/bio.  The whole process takes only a couple of minutes.

Here’s how you start:

Launch your iPhone Facebook App and click on Places.  Sorry, if you don’t have an iPhone, you’ll have to find other productive stuff instead.

Next , click on the Check In button.

Next, Facebook uses geolocation to  serve up Places it knows you are near.  It’s not important what shows up here, because we’re going to create our own Places Page location.  Cool.  What you want to do is touch the + button.

At the next screen, type in your information.  But before you start typing, think about what information you want to include.  Once you’ve entered your information and touched the “Done” button (lower right corner) there is no edit.  Finish, and touch “Done”.

Boom goes the dynamite.  Here’s what my customized Check-In looks like on the iPhone. You can see I added my name, the company, a litte info, and a thank you. That’s better than checking into a generic site, right?

Here’s what it looks like on a Facebook Page Profile Page.  So the idea here is, if you’re checking-in at your office, why not have personal branding 411, like your name, contact information, etc.,  instead of generic company stuff?

Wait there’s more.  You can claim “your” Place.

You can read about here on Facebook or just follow along below:

How Do I Claim My Place?
To claim your Place, search for your business name on Facebook via the normal Search bar. If your business’ Place already exists on Facebook, click on it to visit its page. At the bottom left side of your Place there will be a link that says “Is this your business?” Click on the link and you will be directed to a claiming flow.

Facebook will ask you to verify that you are the owner through a phone verification process, or you may be asked for document verification. Once your claim is confirmed, you will own your Place on Facebook.

Type the name of your customized place into the search bar.  As you can see, I typed Ken Band into the Search box.  Facebook found, and displayed my Place.

When you’ve found your Place, click on the link, and the page below will appear.
1. Click on the “Is this your business?” link, and the 2. box will appear.

Check the box, and click on the Proceed with Verification button.

After you click the Proceed with Verification button, the box below will appear. Type in your info. Remember, once you hit Submit, there is not edit function.  I didn’t include my SSN, but I did upload a photo of my R.E. Lisc.  Hit the Submit button.

That’s it, you’re finished.

At some point, Facebook elves will verify our verifications.  Hopefully they’ll approve it, and we’ll rock on. In the mean time, when we check into the office, instead of generic company information, we’ll have our own customized Place Page.  I imagine that eventually, when Facebook adds Yelp style ratings and Foursquare tips, etc., having our own Places Pages will pay off.  I hear all the criticism about Places, and who knows if will fly or not?  But if it does, we’ll already be there.  Cheers.

PS: Bonus… if you’re wondering how to screen capture your iPhone screen – here’s the trick.

Thanks for reading.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Paula Henry

    August 26, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I’m really sad I don’t have an iphone 🙁

    • Ken Brand

      August 26, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      It won’t be long, all the phones will have the Facebook App updated. Before you know it:-)

    • Jason Barone

      August 26, 2010 at 11:13 pm

      Not sure what platform you have, but you can also use the interface which works excellent on Android.

  2. Joe Loomer

    August 27, 2010 at 6:26 am

    Cool App! Waiting on my HTC Facebook App to update – not on there yet.

    Ken – these are awesome step-by-step screenshot directions – thank you!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Ken Brand

      August 27, 2010 at 8:10 am

      Morning Joe, thanks. It was pretty straight forward. It will be interesting to see how Places evolves. Cheers, have a nice weekend.

  3. Dave Lewand

    August 27, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Good stuff, Ken! There’s definitely an iPhone/Facebook Places lovefest happening right now. Unfortunately, Blackberry & Android users are not currently able to test this service in the same way (for many reasons!), but it’s worth noting that the day after Facebook launched Places, Foursquare received its largest number of one-day signups ever.

    For business – and particularly commercial real estate – my eyes are fixed on Google Places. What can I say, I’m a Google guy!

    • Ken Brand

      August 27, 2010 at 9:41 am

      Google Places, Facebook Places, Foursquare, etc., I’m trying get my arms around all of them. In our business, it’d like to omnipresent. Cheers, and thanks for sharing.

  4. Brandon

    August 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I think check-in apps and services basically say “come rob my house cuz I’m not there …”

    • Ken Brand

      August 29, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Yeah, I get that. It’s wise to consider when, and where you CheckIn. I was thinking that if people know I work, they know I’m not home, Letting people know I was at work, might not alert anyone to something they don’t already know. Good point, maybe checking in out of town might be put your empty home at risk. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Jason Improta - Calabasas Homes for Sale

    August 27, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    Just need it to come to the Droid

  6. Dan Connolly

    August 27, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    And the best thing about Facebook is the “hide” option! So those of us who despise foursquare and anything like it can quickly banish the Places updates! Yay! Woo hoo!

  7. Krisstina Wise

    August 29, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Thanks, Ken–going to set up my FB Places today as a result of your post. You’re right–might as well play nice with FB since they appear to be ruling the social media world. My question is that I’m curious as to how, if at all, Places is any different than Foursquare? With 4sq I check in, can own a ‘place’ that is customizable, it uploads my checkins to FB and TW –so is there a difference (other than no Mayors or swarms yet on FB)? or is FB just trying to mimic 4Sq and we should choose who we think will be the winner in this geo space?

    • Ken Brand

      August 29, 2010 at 8:12 pm

      Good questions Krisstina, I’m not sure myself. It seems to me that the immediate advantage is that Facebook has more subscribers, and therefore they have more people who may begin using the new feature, whereas they might never choose to adapt an additional social platform (Four Square). Also, I guess that means that if we’re using Facebook Places to check-in, then we’re most likely broadcasting to a larger network of your friends.

      As an aside, this adds some weight to a strategy of growing your network of Facebook friends from small, to larger…just like in real life. Not many successful people attributie there success to limiting the number of people they know, or more importantly, the number of people who know them.

      No idea who will win, so many twists and turns, plus Google is racing to get into the game as well. I think the best bet is to have involvement with all the leaders, then we’ll be positioned to point-and-hug, whichever way the wind blows.

      Thanks for commenting.

  8. Peter

    July 27, 2011 at 1:04 am

    The more I’m learning about social media, the more I realize just how much I don’t know. Thanks for the insight.

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Social Media

Instagram now lets you create and share fundraisers

(SOCIAL MEDIA) If you’ve been wanting to start a fundraiser for something you care about, Instagram’s new feature lets you do just that. Go check it out!



Instagram Fundraiser

Instagram announced last week that it has launched a test for a Personal Fundraiser tool on its platform. The feature will allow users to start their own fundraiser if it complies with guidelines or choose an existing cause to support. The launch began in some US, UK, and Ireland markets and is available on Android and iOS.

In its announcement, the company confirmed that since January, more than $100 million has been raised for COVID-19 across Facebook and Instagram (also owned by Facebook), citing that donations on Instagram have doubled in the US in the past 30 days. The announcement said, “from people raising money to buy medical equipment for Black Lives Matter protesters, rebuilding Black-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 and funding educational resources related to racial justice, people are eager to mobilize around causes they care about.”

Personal Fundraisers are short-term and meant to serve time-sensitive causes, with the initial duration lasting 30 days with the option to extend for an additional 30 days. Users must be 18 to create a fundraiser and have a designated bank account in which funds can be deposited. Donations will be processed through Facebook Pay, which also powers Instagram’s new shopping features. The platform covers fees for non-profits, but not for Personal Fundraisers. Donors can choose to keep their information hidden from the public, but organizers will be able to see user names and donation amounts.

To start a Personal Fundraiser, users with access to the feature can tap “Edit Profile”, “Add Fundraiser”, followed by “Raise Money”. They can then choose a photo, select the fundraiser category, and write out a story to encourage donations. When approved, users will be able to raise funds.

Instagram says it will expand the number of users who have access to this feature in the months ahead, as well as give users access to share fundraisers both in their Feed and within Stories. Fundraising features already offered by the company include Donation Stickers for Stories and a Live Donations feature for live streams.

This feature is similar to the fundraising feature already available on Facebook, Instagram’s parent company.

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Social Media

Should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Are there times when it makes sense to connect with your boss and team on Facebook? Or is LinkedIn enough?



facebook friends

Just as we learn, grow, and change in life, so does our use of social media platforms and technology in general. It makes sense though – when hot new programs come out and “everybody’s doing it” (thinking of you MySpace and Plaxo), it’s easy to create a user profile to see what you think of the platform.

You may be a heavy user at first (looking at you Facebook) and then back off, only to use it for certain functions (Groups and Events for example). In the interim, you may have joined Instagram because for some reason it seemed simpler and light-hearted. And don’t let the new, shiny things coming out pass you by without at least seeing if you like them, or if they help entertain you and connect you to loved ones (looking at you Snapchat and TikTok).

Amongst some doubt of new or potential users in the mid-2000s after Facebook opened up to those outside of universities, we have to admit that Facebook has had a longevity that some of the other platforms have not. It allows you to keep your personal network in one place as well as your photos, significant dates, your career changes, events, and even see what your cousins are up to. It almost feels like once you’re invested, it’s hard to get out.

The thing is, there is definitely a grey area on who you accept as a “friend”. It really is up to each person’s comfort level on who they want to be connected to, and how much sharing they do on the platform. This article isn’t going to address Facebook privacy concerns and data sharing, but we do encourage you to look in to those if that is something that is important to you. It’s a similar idea with LinkedIn – some people are happy to connect with anyone and everyone, while others prefer to keep their connections to those they personally know and/or have worked with.

This story is addressing a question as it relates to an article in Inc. about whether or not is it’s ok for managers and employees to be “Facebook friends”, and some other tricky professional situations. We have to look at few things first, including the evolution of our use.

Since Facebook was made available to everyone, we have gone from a simple profile picture, relationship status (oof), and random updates about our breakfast/dentist appointments, to joining interest groups, sharing news articles, promoting brands and memes at a mind-boggling rate. Many people have considered deleting their Facebook profiles due to a high level of negativity, privacy concerns over their data and pictures, and how ultimately, scrolling your newsfeed can be a total time suck.

Many stay on because they are in groups (like super amazing, supportive, and popular ones such as Austin Digital Jobs) that they enjoy, and it’s a way to stay connected with others. This has felt true especially during COVID-19 where many people have lost their social outlets, networking opportunities, and have not been able to get together in person. Social media has also been a useful platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to run a business page at minimal costs (free unless they run advertising), and reach out to customers. Facebook (owner of Instagram) also seems to have been making strides this year to better support small business owners.

So, should you be Facebook friends with your boss?

That is up to you (we are not here to tell you how to run your life) and while many have said, “Nope” in a super unofficial survey of 30 respondents, there were a couple of interesting perspectives:

“Since I’m my boss, twist on my answer… I don’t yes any professional that asks to be FB friends. That’s what my page is for. I even have a canned response that says this because I get so many asks. My personal FB is for actual friends of mine. I didn’t want to yes my MIL either. I have her on the restricted list.”

“I guess it depends. I’m friends with my boss and most of my coworkers. Creative shop within a corporation … about 45 strong. We are tight.”

“If you love your job and you love your boss then I think it is ok. I work 2 part-time jobs and both of my bosses are amazing! I am friends and Facebook friends with both of them.”

“I’m fine. I don’t post much on Facebook anymore. My bosses are all fairly chill. ”

“I have been Facebook friends with previous bosses while they were my boss. I am not with my current boss, but I’d be fine with it if we were. I don’t post anything too crazy, and I tend to over share in the office already. I like to be an open book. Tiktok would be different though… ”

For some who are part of a start-up or smaller team where collaboration and getting to know one another  are supported (thinking teams of 10 or less, hey AG Staff Writers), this may be more of the ‘norm’ and acceptable. However, the majority of people do not want to be “Facebook friends” with their boss to draw a line between work and personal sharing. Many people also mentioned that it varied if they chose to be Facebook friends with their colleagues, although they seem to be more open to colleagues vs. direct supervisors.

This seems to reflect back on how you use Facebook and if sharing your weekend or family photos is not something you want everyone to see. On the flip side, if you’re not sharing much, maybe you’d be OK with being connected there. A more professional way of connecting with your supervisor and others at work is through LinkedIn, and is in fact, highly encouraged.

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Social Media

Could TikTok soon be banned in the U.S for privacy breaching?

(SOCIAL MEDIA) TikTok, a video content social media giant, has been deemed a potential national security risk by the U.S Federal government.



TikTok is banned

U.S lawmakers are calling for a full investigation into TikTok, the fifteen second video app with almost 180 million downloads, after expressing concerns of a privacy breach by the Chinese government.

TikTok’s Chinese parent company, ByteDance, purchased the platform originally known as in November 2017. Since then the social media app worth an estimated $150 billion has almost 180 million downloads in the U.S, and 800 million downloads worldwide.

According to Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the U.S has reason to believe the Beijing-based company, ByteDance, may have been coerced into handing over data to China’s communist leaders. The app’s Founder, Zhang Yiming, and TikTok’s spokesperson responded to the accusations with the following statement: “TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product, and public policy here in the U.S. We have no higher priority than promoting a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.”

We don’t know if we believe you TikTok.

TikTok received over 500 legal demands, including emergency requests, in the first six months of 2020. TikTok has also previously confirmed that the app stores user data on “U.S-based servers” withdrawn from phone downloads. Information includes IP addresses, messages, location information, and according to Pompeo, “sensitive information”, exposed by data breaching that disregards American rights to privacy and potentially violates national security guidelines.

Company employees may live in the U.S, but with its head of operations stationed in Beijing, pressure from the Chinese Government to provide user information is a very serious concern for Americans using the app. 41 percent of its users are part of Generation Z, a highly influential, social media-friendly age group, ranging between 16 and 24.

A sense of invincibility within this age range encourages users to use the app without caution of personal information that may be provided or derived off your phone after installation. In the past two years, social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have also been criticized for not abiding to lawful privacy standards.

ByteDance has halted the use of its corporate office in Beijing and is looking to establish headquarters within the U.S or under new management.

The U.S. government is seriously considering banning the use of TikTok.

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