Facebook has rapidly become the go-to social platform for every aspect of our lives, but the sheer numbers of accounts and pages on it can make it daunting to navigate, especially for small businesses and those looking to access them.
Most businesses now have a Facebook page, but it used to be hard to find a choice of a service local to you, or indeed pit them against each other to which best suited your needs as well as having the best reviews.
Well, no longer – Facebook, spotting a gap in the market for just this within their ecosystem, has launched a professional Facebook Services Page. People can sign themselves and their businesses up, and then users can search by profession and location.
Crucially results are displayed based on rankings, so those with the best reviews and rankings are at the top.
So what does this mean for businesses? Obviously, Facebook is a massive platform with enormous reach (over 1 billion people accessing it each day), so the potential is huge – and chances are your potential customers are already using it.
Plus, it’s already a place that people go to find out about the lives of friends and family, plus local events – so using this search environment as a place to source local businesses, above and beyond personal recommendations, is a natural next step.
And, unlike other search services, Facebook is free to access for both users and businesses, so there is no cost barrier to entry – setting up a page is free, and so is posting to that page, including when customers leave reviews.
So it’s a definite win-win situation: customers are happy because they get the best local businesses delivered at the top of their search, and can quickly click through to each page to find out a bit more about the company, including contact details.
Plus, businesses have the chance to reach thousands of local people who are looking for their service at only the time cost of setting up and maintaining the page. They also have the added incentive of delivering top-notch services at all times in the hopes of getting appropriately good reviews and thus staying high, or climbing higher, in the rankings.
So, what else does this new development mean for small businesses? Well, keeping your page up to date is nearly as important as starting one in the first place, as there’s no point ranking well for a service or product that doesn’t match what you currently offer. And while Facebook never releases the secrets of its ranking criteria, it’s clear that the number of likes and reviews, plus how positive those reviews are, will both be important, so do what you can to maximise these.
So make sure you have the right location information and general descriptive keywords on your page and in descriptions. Then, as long as you have happy customers and can encourage them to reflect this via Facebook, you can look forward to increasing the amount of new business that comes from the social platform, for no additional advertising spend. Hurrah to that!