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Where's the new go-to place for business and pleasure?
Not using the Events feature on your Facebook Page or Group yet? Then it's high time you did! Facebook's goal is to provide fans with the best, up-to-the-minute information about local events. This is good news for consumers and businesses. Events that you list on Facebook are automatically published to its sister app, Facebook Local, providing local businesses with a simple event marketing tool to help fill upcoming events.
Who's using the Facebook Local app?
Facebook's previous events app has been refreshed and renamed Facebook Local. Following its latest enhancements, it's likely to become everyone's go-to app for local events and finding places to visit.
With more than 100 million daily users, this app helps you discover places and things to do recommended by friends or family. It allows you to keep updated with what's happening locally, wherever you are. Whether you're at a local party, at a friend's for dinner or at the beach with your family, Facebook Local will keep you posted with 'things to do'.
The new app combines events and places into a single platform to provide users insight on restaurants, attraction parks and any events happening locally that your friends may have expressed an interest in or are near your current location.
Use Facebook Local to find events taking place nearby
The app lets you browse on an interactive map or via the search feature. If you already have Facebook installed on your smartphone, the Local app will sync with it automatically.
When you log in, you'll see the app is divided into three sections at the bottom of the screen:
- The Home screen (the house icon)
- Notifications (the bell icon)
- The calendar
If you've planned a coffee with your friends and fancy trying out a new café, simply click on the teacup icon to filter on Cafés and view them in an interactive map.
The map also allows you to filter by date, time, location and category to keep you up-to-date with what's happening in your local vicinity. You can narrow your search further by applying filters such as 'popularity' or 'Open now'.
If you find an event you like the sound of, you can tap on the 'Interested' star to indicate you'd like to keep updated.
Add selected Events to your calendar
To add an event to your calendar, click the square calendar icon towards the bottom right corner. You can indicate you're 'Going' to an event from here, and register whether you'd like to receive notifications about it. The event will automatically be added to your calendar. Similarly, you can opt-in to receive notifications about upcoming events (similar to Yelp and Foursquare).
Use Facebook Local for business networking
If you're looking to attend a local network group and struggling to find your most convenient one, you can search for Networking events based on your own Facebook network. You can see which events your colleagues or peers are attending and Facebook will automatically suggest the events they're attending to you. To see what your business partners or colleagues are up to, check out the 'For You' section to get a full list of events your Facebook friends have liked or RSVP'd to.
Why provide a stand-alone event app?
The best apps are the ones that do what they do simply and well. Apps that have been developed for a specific purpose are usually simpler to navigate and provide only a handful of functions. Facebook has created dedicated single-purpose tools in the past, like Messenger. It's likely that Facebook Local will also include e-commerce features in future.
How does Facebook Local compare to Foursquare and Yelp?
There are certainly some similarities between Local, Yelp and Foursquare. However, Facebook Local emphasises the social side of networking – by allowing users to find events that match their interests and those of their friends and family. With the benefit, of course, that the app is synchronised with Facebook.
Facebook Local has the advantage that it can leverage standard Facebook features, such as suggesting events that are popular with your close friends and contacts. This makes it user friendly from both a personal and business point of view, and certainly makes event planning a lot easier.
Yelp was originally created as a review application. You checked into a particular restaurant and your reviews were the centrepiece of the app. Foursquare's original purpose was a check-in, or a locations game, where users checked in to earn badges for mayorships, based on their number of check-ins. There were pictures and tips available, and you could also leave reviews - but these were secondary to the check-in game.
However, Foursquare's main application now competes with Yelp, Trip Advisor and Google Maps in that it provides information about the location, pictures, reviews and tips.
This Local app is bound to make you 'appy
All in all Facebook has created a handy app that brings together all local information about places, recommendations from your friends and events happening in your local town. It's put everything event-based in one place, making it simple, clean and easy to use.
Facebook's new mission statement is:
'To give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together'.
I think it's on its way to achieving this with the Local app, a complete guide to wherever you are.
And that said, I'm off to find the best cup of tea in Buckinghamshire according to Facebook Local! I'm sure Perkys Coffee House in Wooburn Green is worth a try...
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