Is your business struggling with reviews? Are you having difficulties with Yelp and your star rating? Not interested in paying hand over fist for check-in offers that don’t work?
Say hello to Facebook Local, a revamped app improving upon Facebook Events. This app combines an easy to way to find nearby businesses, restaurants, and more, with options to RSVP to upcoming events and parties, plus the capability to connect with your friends.
In other words, see you later, Yelp!
Business owners’ growing frustrations with Yelp have grown significantly in 2017—with numerous issues coming to the forefront, including claims of favoritism towards high ad spenders, uncontrollable or uncorrectable drops in reviews and star ratings, reviews that instantly get lumped into the “Not Recommended” section, and a lack of help from support and account reps. Business owners are unable to encourage reviews, unable to figure out how to keep reviews on your company page, and unable to do anything to improve their star rating. They’re even unable to override the Yelp software, which automatically deems whether or not a review is legitimate or fake.
Topping it off, Yelp recently announced that any review encouragement that isn’t organic will result in a “demotion in Yelp search results.”
The launch of Facebook Local couldn’t have come at a better time!
Facebook Local allows users to search through businesses, events, concerts, and other shops, depending on your location and preferences. Through the app, which is linked to your personal Facebook account, an individual can locate details, RSVP to an event, invite their friends, and see any additional information, such as hours. Better yet, users will see which of their friends have already visited the location, or any associated reviews about the place.
App users can sort results by categories, relevance, popularity, distance, and rating. They’re also provided with calls to action to interact with that business, whether it be a phone call or a website visit.
Embracing this feature as a business owner and as a user has its perks—today and in the long run.
Why should your business pay attention to Facebook Local?
- Facebook is, yet again, changing the game. The Facebook Local app will combine reputation with local search and social. After all, it’s not news that Facebook reviews and star ratings, as well as the endorsement from your friends who have shopped at a place, have a substantial influence on a person’s choice to shop or not shop there. If you trust your friends, then you trust their opinion on a business, and Facebook is making the most of that.
- As a company, Facebook allows you to retarget associated customers if they’ve visited your stores, shopped with you online, RSVP’d to your events, liked your page, and more. In addition to that, Facebook offers up “Recent Ad Activity,” where any and all ads a user interacts with is tracked. If everything you do is noted for future reference, it only makes sense that a user’s activity on Facebook Local could eventually become part of that data, available to marketers.
- As Facebook integrates with more and more businesses, like hotels and airlines, in addition to the build out of the Messenger platform, it only makes sense that popular social payment methods, like Venmo, could quickly become part of the landscape, making in-app purchasing second nature. After all, payments are already an available feature. And so, embracing Facebook Local would then mean another source of revenue, like a place to instantly buy products or tickets to an event without ever leaving the app.
- For the bulk of 2017, we’ve been stuck with Yelp and all of its issues—for better or for worse. Facebook Local offers up a bigger, better alternative with similar features.
Why should you, as a Facebook user, pay attention to Local?
- Browsing through Yelp and seeing nothing but negative reviews? That’s not helpful, especially when thousands of legitimate reviews from real customers get automatically pushed to the “Not Recommended” tab. Facebook Local will provide a more genuine, raw portrait of customer feedback of a business or place.
- Installing the Facebook Local app encourages you to let your location be tracked. This helps the app offer up the most relevant places, as well as provide you the most accurate directions to and from a location. At the same time, this does means Facebook can monitor your whereabouts. Then again, doesn’t your phone do that already?
- The app will offer yet another way for you to interact with your friends on Facebook, with lists of events and places catered just for you. You’ll also receive top recommendations from your connections, as well as capabilities to invite, connect, and engage with relevant places and users.
- Since Facebook will be keeping tabs on your interests, whereabouts, and activity on network, it works in a user’s favor. More suggestions and ads will relate to your interests and life, which will be backed by your previous online and offline actions, and make for an improved experience overall.
At a glance, the new Facebook Local seems to be a solid offering for both the business user and the shopper. With a laundry list of features, as well as a huge opportunity for potential to build onto it, the app could quickly become an integral part of the local search, reputation management, and social engagement landscape.
Facebook Local is now available on iOS and Android. Check it out today! In the meantime, here’s a free Social Media Checklist showcasing the most critical steps to building a thriving social program. If you’re interested in seeing how social media marketing can help drive leads for your business, let’s talk!