Business Pages Appear in Facebook Local Mobile Search Results
In December 2012 Facebook revolutionised its local search feature. The platform altered the “Nearby” tab, as part of the renovation, local businesses now feature. This increases the liklihood that local businesses will be discovered from their Facebook page. It also provides a compelling reason for local and small businesses to establish themselves on the platform. Due to Facebook’s huge active populace totalling over one billion users, this is an excellent opportunity for increasing custom. An opportunity that small businesses must not miss!
What does the change to the nearby tab mean for users?
Prior to the update, the Facebook nearby tab was sorely a forum for users to view places where their friends had checked in. However following the Facebook app update users will still be able to see places their friends have checked in, how
ever they will also be given access to a selection of local places and businesses which are nearby. This option will potentially enable users to discover new local businesses that they were previously unaware existed. The app upgrade is compatible with both iOS and Android operating systems.
The places which appear are ranked based on recommendations by the friends of the user. Rankings of local businesses and places are affected by the star rating system, number of check-ins and the number of likes. If a user’s friendship group on the platform provides no recommendations, then Facebook will provide ranking results from the larger local community. This is a nice touch which ensures that all users will be provided with real and unbiased ratings of local business and places by their Facebook peers.
The alterations rendered to the nearby tab, provide mobile Facebook users with the ability to search for places or businesses by categories. The categories include: hotels, arts, outdoors, shopping, restraints and nightclubs. All of which provide users with a multitude of search options to suit their particular requirements or mood.
Furthermore the alterations to the “Nearby” tab allow users to interact directly through their smartphones with the local places and businesses which appear. The actions available to users include: liking, checking in, calling the place or business and also gaining directions from the user’s current location. What’s more users are also provided with the opportunity to rate and recommend the local place or business. This takes two forms; the user can choose to do this generally as in with the public at large; or alternatively to selected Facebook friends and connections. User’s are also able be rate local businesses and places with a five star rating system. However this option is only available to users with businesses and places which they have previously checked into.
Ways local businesses should utilise these changes:
There are several things which local businesses need to do in order to ensure that they appear in the “Nearby” tab:
- First things first, a local business needs to set up a Facebook business page. Simply put the Facebook “Nearby” tab does not include local businesses which do not have a page on the platform. In order to be included you need to represent yourself with a page.
- Make sure that the “About” section is fully completed, providing thorough and up to date details of your business. It is imperative to include your businesses: address, opening hours, contact details and other important details.
- Physically check on your page that the category is relevant. This is essential as your business will be sorted by the category you put it under. Placing your business in the wrong category could drastically limit the number of customers you generate from the feature. In order to change the category of your business, simply click the “Edit page” option at the top of your page. Then select “Update Info”, and then choose which category to associate your business with. After doing this ensure to click on the save changes button or any alterations you have made will not be saved.
- Finally, as with any other social commerce effort the goal is to encourage and foster engagement on the platform. Utilise your marketing to good effect, providing motivation for users to engage with your page. Whether this is through: liking, checking in, rating or recommending.