This month’s edition of 3 Digital Things is all blue, as in Facebook blue.  The social giant is always rolling out new things, some big and some small.  Recently I’ve come across a few new updates that further solidify why any business would want a presence on Facebook.  Let’s dive in and I invite you to subscribe to my quarterly email on the right.

1- Facebook Recommendations

I just stumbled upon this new feature this week and from what I can tell it’s just days old.  Here is Facebook’s announcement and video on it today (10/19).  In short, when you use Facebook to ask your friends for help on a business service or product, it triggers an option for an enhanced “Recommendations” feature that brings business page info into the comments and a map of where they are located.  There are also more features coupled with it for local business engagement.

Below is the first one I came across looking for cell phone screen repair on 10/18/16.

 

facebook recommendation

That led me to create a test by asking my friends where the best burger in our area might be.  Not only can your friends tag a business page, but you can add them as well to their comment.  This Recommendation enhancement allows you to build a list and map of what to investigate, contact or visit. Brilliant.

 

facebook recommendations

The Process

Facebook is understanding when you are possibly asking your network for help.  So far the feature likely understands the words you are using to trigger various prompts asking you to “Turn on Recommendations” so you can see them all in one place.

facebook alert

They confirm where (location) you want the recommendations and then they enhance your post.

facebook-recomendation-2

I think this is a really valuable feature as it addresses a scenario I see over an over again on Facebook, friends asking friends for referrals.  This also further supports why every business should have a complete Facebook business page as that user will click into that referral and into the Facebook page.  Photos, details, and an active stream of posts are all important for this first impression.

Lastly, I have a great list of burger joints and specific burgers to check out now too.   When I visit these businesses I might check-in and post a photo of the burger, which leads me to my next item.

2- Facebook Review Requests Move Up to Notifications

Last year (October 2015) I came across Facebook using the news feed to ask for online reviews.  Now in the last few months Facebook has moved this review request up a level and into your Notifications.  I noticed this last month after a recent photo I posted and tagged from being at my church for my son’s baptism.

review request

After you check-in, add a photo and tag the business/place or are even tagged by friends in a post with a location tag, you will be asked to review that business on Facebook.  It expands the review request in two ways.  One is by displaying it in the Notifications, which truly activates Facebook users.  The second is that when you tag friends and a business, they receive the request too, so they didn’t have to check-in themselves to be asked for a review.

I tested this a few times and the Notification request for a review comes in about 24 hours after your check-in.

The wider impact of this is of note as one persons check-in, photo and tagging at a group outing could trigger 5, 10 or 20+ review requests.

One thing I did test was to see if a business tagged customers or followers in a post, would that trigger a review request. It didn’t, but it sure would make it interesting if the business could use that as a review request tool.

In closing, this furthers the value in your business asking customers to check-in, take photos and tag them. It not only gives you exposure in their news feed but can help you request and land Facebook reviews.

3- Small Businesses Using Facebook Live

I’m seeing an uptick in small business using Facebook Live to connect with their followers.  I subscribe to the marketing strategy that you should work to expose the daily activity and expertise of your business in every way possible and this definitely is a great play for that.

Building Awareness

One example is my friend Jason Kasanezky and his construction company, Randahl Construction.  He’s been using Facebook Live to show his network the work their company is doing on a solar project and other projects.  What a great way to let others in on your expertise, the size and types of projects you are working on and more.

facebook live video

This is just one great example and shows that any type of business can bring people in to what they are doing.  Facebook Live is a great way to do this for a small business.  Share what you do on a daily basis!

One idea I’d look into is exporting the Live videos from Facebook (I think they allow this) and then using them on your own website for project updates or to build out case studies.  I often see companies create great social media content, especially photos and videos, and then never bring it back into their own marketing that they own.  Then you have a much longer shelf life of the content.  Regardless, great work Jason.

Getting Direct With Your Community

Another friend of mine using Facebook Live is John T. Meyer, the founder of Lemonly who produces awesome “visual storytelling” for their clients in infographics and more.  I often see John using Live to talk about what he’s up to and asking questions of his network.

john-facebook-live

I reached out to John with a few questions on his use so far and he was kind enough to give me some answers.

Q: What do you use Facebook Live for?
John:  Currently using FB Live to gather feedback and answer questions from my community. The reach isn’t huge, but the signal is very high. Very engaged viewers and a great way to tease/promote upcoming content releases. 

Q: What led you to start using it?
John: I think the product is great. I was a hardcore early adopter in Meerkat. Actually was once like #7 in world in Meerkat (like day 5) and then when celebs jumped in I disappeared. I didn’t dive in much to Periscope, but once FB Live came along live video felt like it hit mainstream. I’m excited to continue to try it out. I think use cases during travel or unique experiences is really exciting.

Q: What has been the biggest benefit or value of using it so far?
John: Biggest value is having that 5-10% of my community feel like they have a direct channel to me. I like the personal feel that the FB Live streams have. 

Q: What advice do you have for another small business thinking about using Live?
John: Try it. You may not think it fits your audience, but think of it as a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how your company works. Also, try it as an opportunity to do Q/A with your community or troubleshoot any questions. Customers want a human touch, and FB Live is as human as you can get without being in-person.

Facebook In The Local Online Marketing Space

The features above are all examples of Facebook’s further push in the local small business marketing world.  They really are becoming a great value to the local business, even with the demise of organic post visibility (or complete lack thereof). Let me know if you check these features out or put them to use for your business, I’d love to hear about it or even blog about it.  Thanks for reading another month of 3 Digital Things.

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