In December, Facebook rolled out its new app for Android and iOS systems: Facebook Nearby. Sure, check-ins are nothing new, but the Nearby app is something more sophisticated and fun. It finally uses its “like” system in a constructive manner to market local businesses and allow Facebook friends to share their favorite hangouts. This app is so cool, it may actually make you a believer in the power of check-ins.

What are the Basics of Facebook Nearby?

With Facebook Nearby, you start by opening the app, which will pull up the businesses closest to you, as well as the businesses that your Facebook friends have liked and checked into. So, say you live in the burbs and travel to the city for an afternoon of fun. You can pull up a list of restaurants in the area and see if your friends have been to them, which is as good as any referral. This is a great tool for businesses and users alike.

Now, if you ‘re looking for specific types of businesses, you can narrow your search by using the handy search bar. Various categories become available, such as arts, shopping and nightlife. Whenever you see a business you want to learn more about, simply click on the name and you can read about what others have written. Don ‘t forget to share your own experiences; there is a five-star rating system as well as the option to write a review.

What Facebook Nearby Means for Your Business

Nearby may be a sweet new app, but how will it benefit your business? Here ‘s the lowdown.

First, make sure you have a Facebook page for your business with the correct contact information. The Nearby app relies on Facebook data (surprise, surprise), so if you ‘re not on there, Nearby won ‘t find you. Also make sure your page is categorized correctly so that it will be pulled up in the correct genre. Second, keep your other listings current and fresh, such as on Google or Yelp!, because users will most likely research your business on other sites other than Facebook.

Finally, leverage Nearby as a marketing tool that is completely free, unlike many of the tools offered through Google. You can market your company ‘s strengths and brand your business so that you are getting relevant Facebook likes and recommendations. For businesses, especially smaller ones, Facebook Nearby is a great way to grab your spot in the mobile marketplace and build a positive reputation.