How to be seen by more customers using Facebook Nearby
For local small businesses, one of the keys to search engine marketing is making sure that if a customer is searching for your business, they can find it easily. This means making sure that your business has a regional listing in each of the major search engine's local directory, like Google+ Local or Bing Local. Customers are also using apps and social networks like Foursquare and Yelp to find, rate and review local businesses. Now, your customers are going to be able to use their Facebook app to find businesses in their area that have a Facebook Page or Place using Facebook Nearby.
Both the iOS and Android versions of the Facebook app now incorporate a lot of the same functionality found in Foursquare or Yelp. Facebook users can tap the Nearby tab and immediately see the businesses in their current area, or use the map to look for businesses in a different area. Users can search for a business by name, as well as rate a business and leave a review. The Nearby feature also shows you where your friends have checked-in. You can search businesses by category, and even share the businesses you find with your friends.
While Facebook boasts over 1 billion users, what's perhaps more impressive is the fact that over half of those users are using Facebook mobile, which is more than Foursquare's total user base. This means that not only is Facebook poised to potentially take over the local social search space, but it also means that businesses MUST make sure they're prepared to take advantage of this opportunity to be found.
Step One: Create or Claim Your Facebook Place
If you haven't already, you must have a Facebook Place set up. A Facebook Place is similar to Page, but is designed to specifically highlight the physical nature of a business, like location, hours, and so on. it also allows visitors to review your business and check in. Facebook has provided an easy to follow guide for claiming or creating your Place.
Step Two: Create Your Facebook Page
Again, if you haven't already, you need to create your Facebook Page immediately. Your Page should have a detailed About that utilizes your targeted keywords (as Google will index it), and it should be linked to your website.
Step Three: Merge, If Possible
Facebook is allowing some businesses to merge their Facebook Page with their Facebook Place. If you're able to do so, take advantage of that. If not, just wait. Once you set up your Facebook Place, unless you move or change a phone number, it won't require much maintenance on your part so having the "extra" Facebook area won't cost you any more time.
Step Four: Promote Your Facebook Presence
This last step is crucial. Facebook will be using an algorithm to determine which businesses show up in a particular user's results. It's not simply based on your geolocation. User activity such as Likes, Check-in's, Comments, Ratings and so on will all be taken into consideration. That means that you need to encourage your fans to check-in and be active on your Page and Place.
- Link to your Facebook Page on your website and other social networks.
- Use signage at your business to invite visitors to "check-in" on Facebook.
- Provide value on your Facebook Page - educate, entertain and engage your fans.
- Interact with your fans - ask questions, respond to comments, and thank them for their activity
What do you think of Facebook Nearby? Do you think it will be good for businesses? Have you used it yourself to find a local business? Let us know what you think in the comments below. If you need help with the above steps, please feel free to contact us.
By Mike Allton, Content Marketing Practitioner
Mike is a Content Marketing Practitioner, Blogger and Author in St. Louis, and the Chief Marketing Officer at SiteSell. He has been working with websites and the Internet since the early '90's, and is active on all of the major social networks. Mike teaches a holistic approach to content marketing that leverages blog content, social media and SEO to drive traffic, generate leads, and convert those leads into sales.
Mike is the author of, "The Unofficial Book On HootSuite: The #1 Tool for Social Media Management", "The Ultimate Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Profile.", and "Blog Promotionology, The Art & Science of Blog Promotion."