How the New Facebook Local Can Benefit Your Business

Posted by on December 1, 2017
Facebook Local App

Image From Facebook https://www.facebook.com/local

Facebook may seem like a monolith—after all, with more than 2 billion active users, it’s far and away the most successful social network. With that said, there is one area where Facebook has always come up short—and that’s search. Despite some tentative efforts to tap into online search, Facebook has never truly taken a bite out of Google’s market share, which exceeds 80 percent.

But that may be changing—and it’s all thanks to the launch of Facebook Local Search. But what is this new undertaking—and how might it impact your business?

A Seamless Experience

Before we get to those questions, it’s important to lay some context. For a long time, it’s been clear that the Holy Grail of online services is to seamlessly wed social and search into a harmonious user experience. You could argue that Google’s ill-fated foray into social networking, Google+, is an example of this very thing.

Meanwhile, Snapchat has broken into local search with its Snap Maps and Context Cards. Instagram, too, has introduced map search and local tagging capabilities. And that brings us to Facebook Local—the boldest instance yet of a social network expanding into local search capabilities.

What is Facebook Local?

So what is Facebook Local all about? Essentially, it’s the next step in the evolution of Facebook Places and Professional Services, two functions that allowed Facebook users to do research, read reviews, and connect with local businesses. Facebook Local is an even more powerful local search engine, encouraging users to spend more time on the site as they seek to connect with brick-and-mortar stores in their area.

Facebook Local is powered by the 70 million business pages that currently exist, to say nothing of reviews and check-ins from individual users. It’s available to users through a standalone app, and it works similarly to the old Facebook Events tool—only instead of local events, it makes it easy for users to discover nearby bars, restaurants, retail stores, and attractions.

Using Facebook Local

Using Facebook Local

What Facebook is banking on is that the app makes it much easier for users to conduct the kinds of geographically-specific, retail-oriented searches that they might have previously done through Google. For example, when you’re out shopping and you need to grab a bite to eat, you can easily open Facebook Local, which will be a kind of personal concierge service to the well-reviewed eateries near you, including ones that your friends have eaten at or reviewed.

Additionally, the app offers calendars and local guides that make it easy for users to find events, exhibits, concerts, and other activities in their area. Facebook Local can essentially serve as a personalized guide for everything going on in your neighborhood on any given day or night.

There are obvious benefits to all parties involved. Facebook gets more users devoting more hours to the platform, while users have a new way to do consumer research and find local products and services that they need. As for brands, Facebook allows them to tap into all the demographic data gathered from user profiles, and to target their ads to interested consumers in their area.

What Can Your Business Do?

If this new standalone app catches on, it could legitimately bite into some of that Google market share—and also directly challenge sites like Yelp and Foursquare. The question is, what can your business do to take full advantage of this new Facebook offering?

It goes without saying that having a business page on Facebook is key—and that regular content updates are necessary to keep your page active and current.

It’s also smart to do whatever you can to encourage check-ins and reviews from your customers; the more you can build up your online footprint, the more likely your business is to emerge in a Facebook Local search.

And of course, once the app begins to take off, it will become increasingly valuable for local companies to invest in targeted Facebook ads—allowing them to capitalize on Facebook’s data.

Get Ready for the Next Era of Local Search

Controlling your social media presence has never been more important—nor more daunting. To start gearing up for this next phase in local search, reach out to the Orange County SEO experts at EverythingOnline. Contact us today!