One of the best means of advertising and marketing your small business is through referrals. In the digital age, those referrals are usually online. One effective and under-used online opportunity is the recently revamped Facebook recommendation process. Not too long ago, the social media megastar retired its nebulous star rating in favor of a simpler recommendation option. Instead of rating your business on a scale, your Facebook family can now simply choose whether or not to recommend your Page. This streamlines the review process substantially, and differentiates Facebook from reviews on Yelp or Google My Business. Customers can also now add tags and images to their reviews.
One reason small businesses should focus on Facebook reviews is that it accounts for over 20% of the most trusted review sites for local searches. People really do look at online reviews, and have their purchasing decisions influenced by the reviews of their family and friends. As we discussed previously, local search optimization is crucial for small businesses like yours. This is important because Facebook includes the number of reviews your business gets in its search algorithm, which helps bump up your online visibility when prospects use their platform to search for businesses or services like yours. Recommendations will automatically appear on your Page, but you also have the opportunity to report content you believe is spam or unfair.
If you want to increase your Facebook effectiveness, the first step is to turn on your recommendations:
- Go to your Facebook business page and click on the “Settings” tab at the top.
- Scroll down the left column and click on “Templates and Tabs.”
- In the right column you will see a list of your pages, with a box to edit the settings on each. If “Reviews” is listed, you can click on that to see whether “Show Reviews” has been enabled. If they are not enabled, change the setting from “Off” to “On.”
- If the right column does not show a review page, scroll to the bottom and click on “Add A Tab.” A pop-up box will list available options. Find “Recommendations” and click on “Add Tab” next to it.
- Be sure to save any changes.
Once you have enabled the recommendations for your Page, the next crucial step is to encourage customers to recommend your business. Did you know that seven out of ten people will happily leave a review when asked to do so, but many businesses simply fail to even ask? The “Recommend” prompt appears when viewing your business’ Facebook page, and on the Review tab of the site. Visitors can easily check whether they recommend you or not, and add a text comment about their experience. Facebook will also generate possible tags based on the type of business being reviewed. Actions you can take to encourage Facebook recommendations include:
- Post store signage asking visitors to check-in and post their recommendations, or include a note inside the box or bag you provide with a purchase.
- When customers are pleased with your business, make it a habit to personally ask them to recommend you on your Facebook page. Ask if they know how and offer instructions if necessary, but DO NOT offer any incentive for the recommendation.
- If you have email addresses you can add a link to your review page. Have a template already set up and ready to go, so it won’t be an extra effort, and becomes something automatic for you to do.
- Write a Facebook post asking for recommendations.
- Monitor any comments made in the recommendation, and respond to them promptly.
- Make sure you have a Facebook link on your website, and ask visitors to use it to post a recommendation.
Recommendations help build reach, boost your credibility and generate increased trust in your business. Reviews can and do increase sales, so make it a point to add the Facebook recommendation process to your marketing to-do list, and then incorporate asking for reviews as a regular part of your customer interactions. When faced with ways to improve your reputation and sales, Facebook really adds up!