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When I was younger, I would use the Yellow Pages to look up local businesses. Nowadays, the Yellow Pages are pretty much extinct. I mean, when was the last time you pulled out that huge book and skimmed through the pages until you found the company you were looking for? With the Internet at our fingertips, you’re able to research local services much more efficiently, and with customer-review based sites, you can even see how others rate a specific company.
Since the end of my days using the Yellow Pages, I’ve turned to Yelp when looking for a new restaurant, gym, plumbing company, or other service. If you’re a fan of Yelp, or other customer-review based sites like Angie’s List, then I have a surprise for you. (Well, maybe not a surprise since you’ve already ready the title of this blog post.) Facebook has created their own version: Facebook Professional Services.
How Does Facebook Professional Services Work?
The site itself is rather simple, maintaining the same feel as the rest of Facebook. Upon entering the professional services section, you are prompted to enter the category of what you’re looking for in a search box. It automatically defaults to your current location, pulling in a background image of the city in question.
After performing a search, business information is provided with the data Facebook already has from the businesses’ Pages, including details like their description, phone number, hours of operation, location, ratings, and customer reviews. It’s still unclear how Facebook is ranking the companies listed on the results page—it doesn’t seem as though it’s based off the amount of ratings and reviews, or even listed from highest score to lowest. Facebook could be using data from you and the pages you’ve visited, rated, liked, or that your Facebook friends have liked to determine the ranking order. Only time will tell. The search results page also features a map—providing the locations of the businesses so you can see which of those listed are closest to your current location.
One of the most limiting features thus far is that Facebook Professional Services is still desktop-only. A location-aware mobile version will likely follow the official announcement—but in the meantime, you’ll only be able to look up local businesses and reviews from the comfort of your couch or desk chair with your computer in hand.
Optimizing Your Facebook Business Page Is More Important Than Ever
The goal of any business with an online presence is to be found by users with the hopes of turning them into customers. If your Facebook Business Page is not optimized sufficiently, you may not rank well, or at all, with Facebook Professional Services. Here are some things to keep in mind when managing your business page:
- Create a custom Facebook URL
- Use keywords throughout your page and content
- Include ALL of your business information: address, phone number, hours of operation, etc.
- Link to your Facebook page from your company website
- Encourage customers to “check in” at your location and leave reviews
Stay Tuned for Facebook Professional Services
Facebook has grown into one of the best resources for small- and medium-sized businesses, often becoming a stand-in for a company’s website where users can find hours, menus, and customer reviews. Other Facebook services like the launch of Facebook Places focused on connecting users with businesses, as well as their friends. If the social networking site properly integrates Facebook Professional Services and Facebook Places together, they could have a Yelp killer on their hands.
I know we’re all anxiously waiting to see how Facebook’s new service will compete with Yelp and Angie’s List, but it has not been officially launched by the social networking site. So, until then, it’s a work-in-progress we will have to wait to learn more about it.
Creating a Facebook Strategy for Your Small Business
Contrary to what some business owners believe, social media websites can generate a significant number of leads, sales, and referrals to your website. Whether you need help setting up and optimizing your social media campaigns or you’d like to know where you can improve your existing campaigns, Blue Corona can help.
We’re content marketing experts. Let us help you create exciting, sharable content for all your fans— which will help you increase the number of leads you generate from the Web.
About The Author: Katie is a content marketing specialist at Blue Corona. Outside of content creation and SEO, Katie enjoys stuffing her face with nachos, online shopping, and binge-watching Netflix.
View more blogs by Katie Birkbeck