From Inside Business
Say goodbye to giving a five-star rating to your favorite business on Facebook, and say hello to leaving a recommendation.
The social media giant recently revamped several features of Pages—what the website calls profiles for businesses, brands, communities and public figures. Hopefully, these changes will be mutually beneficial to both customers and businesses, according to Hampton Roads small business owners and social media marketers.
“Over the long term, it’s really been trending in a good direction and they seem to be listening to the small businesses,” said Corey Coleman, owner of CrossFIT Little Creek in Norfolk.
Previously, users could leave a rating of one to five stars on a page, along with a written review of the business. Now, they are simply asked whether they would recommend the business, and can only give a yes or no response.
Users can still leave a comment with their recommendation, but it has to be at least 25 characters long. Facebook implemented the changes in early August.
Jessica Bedenbaugh, a communications consultant with PRR Hampton Roads, said it might be tough at first for small business owners to adjust, but she was optimistic about long-term benefits.
“Ultimately, I believe it will help drive more authentic content and encourage more active participation and engagement,” she stated in an email.
The new system also comes with a tagging system called rich endorsements. Bedenbaugh said a user can choose from a list of suggested tags—say, “latte art” or “cozy atmosphere” for a coffee shop—then spotlight those in their recommendation. That list will turn into suggested improvements if they don’t recommend the business.
So far, coffee shops and restaurants are piloting the tagging system, but Facebook plans to introduce it to all Pages at some point, Bedenbaugh said. If it works, the business owners can either see if their strengths are aligning with customers’ desires or pinpoint exactly what needs to be fixed
“Compared to a five-star review system that rarely provides constructive guidance, rich endorsements can provide action steps that feed into goals offline,” Bedenbaugh added.
Coleman, who recently participated in a small business talk in Hampton hosted by Facebook, said he hadn’t yet noticed a significant change in what kind of recommendations his business was receiving.
“We’ve been steady (in recommendation volume),” he said.
However, based on his past experiences with the company, Coleman said Facebook generally goes above and beyond when responding to his concerns.
Additionally, he said social media has been a big part of getting his gym’s message out to the right people. Through Facebook, he said his gym can reach its target audience in a much more affordable manner than other media sources.
“They are responsible for a significant amount of the business that we do,” Coleman said.
Though not every business will benefit from a strong social media presence, Bedendaugh said it can sometimes make a huge difference.
“Local businesses already have a great connection with the community, and here in Hampton Roads we’re lucky to have amazing small business owners that take pride and ownership in our region,” she said.
“Having a strong, authentic presence on social media allows their customers to see behind the curtain and feel connected to that, even when they can’t physically be there.”
From Inside Business
By Trevor Metcalfe
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