Social is the new search. I’m sure many of you have heard this axiom before, but Facebook is finally entering the fray with respect to local businesses: recently, Facebook has updated its way for people to discover nearby businesses on their smart phones.
On Monday, Facebook launched an updated nearby feature in its mobile app for android and ios. You’ve probably seen its predecessor in your Facebook feed every time one of your friends has checked-in at a restaurant, baseball stadium or spa — letting you know just how lucky they are to be at said destination.
But the updates to the nearby tab on your mobile device features an exciting opportunity for local businesses:
“Local businesses have always relied on word-of-mouth recommendations to gain new customers and grow their sales. Whether they’re a new restaurant in the neighborhood, a favorite salon, or a trusted tailor, small businesses often depend on social endorsements to get discovered.
And recommendations from friends become even more important when people are on the go. In fact, 150 million people visit Pages on Facebook every day globally. And in the US, over half of visitors to Facebook Pages are visiting them from a mobile device.” (Facebook Studio) So now, if you use Facebook to search for a restaurant or salon, you’ll soon be finding the results that your friends have specifically recommended. This is an enormous opportunity for local businesses.
People already trust reviews on sites like Google, Yelp and Citysearch. From SearchEngineLand.com:
“The findings of this year’s Local Consumer Review Survey (2012) show a positive shift in consumer trust and appreciation of online reviews.
Approximately 72% of consumers surveyed said that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, while 52% said that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business.” Facebook then, has raised the stakes. We’re already trusting reviews from people we don’t even know. Imagine the power of the reviews from people we trust and have friended.