Facebook have launched – albeit quietly – a feature that could revolutionise the way people search for tradesmen, restaurants, cleaners and, well, just about any other business or service you can think of.
The feature, called Facebook Services, allows users to search for local businesses in their area, with the results bringing back and ranking local Facebook business pages.
Make no mistake, this is huge news for small business owners. Here’s why it’s so important, along with some tips to keep you ahead of the curve…
Reach more customers through local search
Facebook Services is a future competitor for the likes of Yelp, Rated People and Google My Business – already crucial marketing tools for many business owners.
However, unlike many of those sites, Facebook Services doesn’t require a sign up fee or subscription.
Also, considering that your potential customers are likely already using Facebook – there’s an estimated 30million UK users – it places your business squarely on a platform that consumers are used to using on a daily basis.
Screenshot via Facebook Services
It’s time you updated your Facebook business page
This all means that if you haven’t got a fully up-to-date page for your business, you’d be wise to fix that in the immediate future. As with any search engine, you’ll want to appear as close to the top of the list as possible.
And whilst Facebook haven’t issued direct guidelines on how to reach the top of the pile, the ranking seems to be based on:
- Location of the business (with the closer to the searcher the better)
- Matching keywords in the page’s name, description and category
- The overall average star rating that the page has
- The number of reviews on the page (and how recent those reviews were!)
- Number of friends who have liked, checked in or reviewed the page
- Number of check-ins (particularly important for those with restaurants/bars)
With the service still being relatively new (and mostly under the radar), now could be a great time to capitalise on the feature and set your Facebook page in order.
Facebook continues to target small business
While this feature may be the latest addition to its small business-targeted arsenal, it certainly isn’t the first.
Facebook have been making strides to target small business owners for a fair while. After improving Facebook Messaging features to make them more customer service friendly - including responsiveness badges, out of hours icons and more - the social platform is becoming a hub for customer contact.
And when it comes to acquisition, Facebook’s targeted advertising can also work wonders for small businesses. Check out our small business guide to Facebook to learn more about how to use Facebook ads (and a whole lot more!)
How popular do you think Facebook Professional Services will prove to be? Let us know below.