Facebook Social Wi-Fi appears to be a new channel for businesses to gain new fans through checkins at their wifi hotspot
In the code used to build the graphs and charts for page insights, there’s a list of all of the possible sources for new Likes. Adverts, Like Buttons, Like Boxes, search results, and the pages wizard top the list.
However, there’s a new entry -
social_wifi. It’s (so far), the only reference I can find for it, so it’s tough to work out exactly how the feature might work.
The explanation for the graph tooltip currently reads “People who liked your Page after checking in via Facebook Wi-Fi.”.
I’d suggest that page owners of local businesses would be able to associate their public wifi hotspots with their Facebook page. Then, a callout on the Facebook homepage could suggest wifi users become a fan of that page.
It’s possible Facebook could be developing a Like-gated free wifi product - similar to HotSpotSystem. However, I think forcing new connections just to use some wifi isn’t going to make for useful social data.
The social wifi product is defiantly under development - the description was changed in the last week - so, hopefully, we’ll hear more about it.
I’m excited to see something to encourage more businesses to make use of their hotspots. After all, what are you meant to do in a coffee shop other than check Facebook? :)
InsideFacebook managed to get a quote from Facebook about this:
“We are currently running a small test with a few local businesses of a Wi-Fi router that is designed to offer a quick and easy way to access free Wi-Fi after checking in on Facebook. When you access Facebook Wi-Fi by checking in, you are directed to your local business’s Facebook Page.”