Facebook continuously works to improve its user experience to focus on the patterns, trends, and expectations of their more than 1.47 billion daily active users. This month, the world’s largest social media network announced changes to its Business Pages in an effort to connect more customers and help local businesses grow. Facebook’s reviews and star rating system has been replaced with Facebook Recommendations, a feature dependent on some of the most intentional activity a user can conduct on the platform – literally recommending a product, service or business to another user. While for consumers this change may seem like just another tweak to their everyday use, the shift draws attention to two significant ways in which users interact with Facebook – conversations and local search.
According to Facebook, a Page’s rating is now based on both past reviews and recommendations people share about a business on Facebook. Seems simple, right? Here’s the catch – only Pages that allow recommendations will show a rating, and a Page that hasn’t received enough recommendations will show no rating at all.
So now you’ve turned on your Page’s recommendations and asked friends and family to recommend your business. You’re all set. But not quite. When a Facebook user posts a recommendation, they can choose their audience – friends or public. It turns out only recommendations that are shared publicly are included in a Page’s overall rating. This can have a considerable impact on a business’ social reputation, even more than the previous star ratings did. It’s highly dependent on the nuances of privacy settings.
For example, when posting comments or recommendations in groups, the visibility would default to the group settings. Closed group activity is only visible to those in the group. When posting a recommendation directly on a Facebook Business Page (as seen in the below example), you are given a choice to post privately or publicly – though publicly seems to be the current default.
However, perhaps the most significant change is that Facebook now allows users to “not recommend” a business, allowing dissatisfied customers to give a much more emphatic thumbs down.
But not to worry! Businesses can report recommendations that don’t follow Facebook’s Community Standards or don’t focus on the product/service offered – an excellent troll slaying feature – and Facebook will review and remove them accordingly.
These changes were implemented to generate more authentic feedback from customers.
Facebook shares –
“People can easily indicate if they recommend your business to others by simply answering “Yes” or “No,” and can explain why with tags, text, and photos. By selecting a tag, they can help themes emerge in the feedback from Recommendations, making it easier for potential customers to see what your business is known for.”
“Recommendations appear on your page and are discoverable across Facebook when people are searching for, or talking about your business. Because we know that people trust the opinions of those they know most, these Recommendations will be surfaced most prominently.”
For multi-location businesses, this new rating system could get tricky. Recommendations posted directly to your local page get the thumbs up. However, if a user tags the wrong location when recommending your business in a comment or conversation, your business could miss out. Or even worse, an incorrectly tagged negative review could impact your rating score. It is vital for multi-location companies to monitor this new system closely and report recommendations that don’t reflect their location or individual services.
Just another reason why online reputation management should be an essential part of your marketing mix.
There is still a lot to be discovered about these changes and any additional impact they may have. However, this new system has the potential to engage more customers and provide richer feedback about your business. In our book, that’s always a step in the right direction.
SOCi and the Local Search Association joined forces to release brand new research in the report – A Guide to Facebook Marketing for Multi-Location Brands.
Click on the button below to download the guide!