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social media how toDo you have a local business page on Facebook?

Want to reach more local customers?

Facebook recently launched Professional Services, a directory that helps consumers find the best local businesses and services to fit their needs.

In this article I’ll share how to use the Facebook Professional Services feature to boost visibility with local customers.

ranking your business with facebook professional services

Discover how your business can use the Facebook Professional Services feature to connect with your local customers.

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What Is Facebook Professional Services?

Facebook Professional Services is a directory inside Facebook for local businesses. The goal is to help customers find local businesses with the best Facebook reviews and ratings.

Facebook expert Mari Smith doesn’t see it as making “… a huge dent in Yelp… at first.” But, she continues, “Over time, as more and more businesses become savvy with their Facebook marketing, and really promote their page activity, the Services Directory and Places could be more of a first choice for consumers.”

local business directory

Facebook Professional Services is a directory for local businesses.

Customers can use the search box to find businesses in the area based on keywords specific to the products or services they need. They can also browse the top local business categories.

top local business categories

Users can browse the top local business categories.

Within search results or specific category selections, customers see basic details about local businesses, such as their description, address, phone number and ratings.

basic details about local businesses

People can see basic details about local businesses.

One of the nice parts about Facebook Professional Services is that it’s not limited to the United States. People can search for local businesses worldwide.

search local business

Consumers can search for local businesses anywhere in the world.

While there are no specific guidelines as to how the Facebook algorithm determines which local businesses to show, after several searches, you can determine it’s based on the following:

  • Where the local business is located
  • Matching keywords in the local business page’s name, description and category
  • The overall average star rating of the local business
  • The number of ratings the local business has received
  • The recency of the latest review
  • The number of check-ins for the local business
  • Previous interactions between the local business page and the customer
  • Connections between customers and people who check in, rate and review the local business

Mobile users can access Facebook Professional Services from their device’s browser.

mobile browswer access

Users can access Facebook Professional Services through their mobile browser.

The search works the same, but the categories presented are much more limited.

mobile categories

The categories are more limited on mobile devices.

Inside the Facebook app, Nearby Places is the best alternative. iPhone users will find this under the More menu.

more menu

Nearby Places is available in the More menu on iOS.

There, they can search for businesses based on location and category.

search location and category

Users can search for businesses based on location and category.

Search results and category pages will show similar information as presented in Facebook Professional Services on the desktop.

search results and category pages

The search results and category pages on mobile show similar information.

Based on Facebook’s tendency to create individual apps for different features, one could assume that if Facebook Professional Services takes off, it will become a stand-alone app similar to what Yelp offers. But Facebook Professional Services is still in its earliest stages, so only time will tell.

Now that you know what Facebook Professional Services is and a little bit about how it works, here are some tips to help you boost your local business’s visibility in the new local directory.

#1: Choose the Correct Category and Subcategories for Your Local Business Page

To ensure that customers find your local business in search or a category listing page, be sure that you’ve selected the appropriate category and subcategories for your local business. To start, search for the keywords or categories that customers would use to find you and see what Facebook suggests.

search keywords

Search for the keywords you think customers would use to find your business.

Then go to your local business Facebook page and enter them in Page Info on the About tab.

keyword page info

Enter your keywords in the Page Info section.

#2: Enter Your Business Details

All of these fields (found in Page Info on the About tab of your local business Facebook page) appear in search results on Facebook Professional Services.

short description

Your short description, address, phone number and hours will appear in search results.

Hence, you’ll want to be sure the short description, contact info and business hours fields are filled in on your local business Facebook page.

fill page info

Make sure your details are filled in under Page Info.

#3: Enable Check-Ins and Star Ratings

If you haven’t done so already, be sure to enable your check-ins and star ratings. To do this, edit your address and check the box beneath your map.

check in and star rating

Enable check-ins and star ratings for your page.

#4: Enable Multiple Contact Options

When customers click through to your local business Facebook page, they’ll see the following.

customer contact

Provide a variety of ways for customers to contact you.

To ensure that local customers can have a great experience on your page beyond just the information shown on Facebook Professional Services, you’ll want to make sure customers can contact you in a variety of ways.

If you don’t have one already, add a Call to Action button to your page.

call to action button

Add a Call to Action button to your page.

You can use it to link Contact Us to your website’s contact page or create a Call Now button for mobile users.

call now button

Add a Call Now button to your page.

In addition to the Call to Action button, you can add a Message button to let people to contact you directly through your Facebook page in a private message.

message button

A Message button allows customers to contact you via private message.

You can also specify your response time, business hours and instant replies in this section of your Page Settings.

#5: Encourage Check-Ins, Ratings and Reviews

Since check-ins, ratings and reviews likely play a role in your local business’s visibility in Facebook Professional Services, it’s important to encourage your customers to do these things.

To encourage check-ins, put up a sign that lets people know where to go on Facebook to check in. Facebook has images you can customize to create signage for your local business like this.

signage

Create Facebook signage for your business.

As for encouraging reviews, Facebook specifies that ratings and reviews must meet Facebook Community Standards and must “focus on the product or service offered by the Page and be based on personal experience.” Most local business directories and review sites, like Yelp, frown on offering incentives for ratings and reviews.

One thing that makes Facebook local business reviews great, as noted by social media consultant Andrea Vahl, is “None of the reviews are ‘hidden’ like they can be on Yelp. People have long been frustrated with the way reviews are managed there, and if Facebook does it right, then they have an opportunity to be a Yelp killer.”

While Facebook doesn’t have any guidelines stating that you can’t incentivize reviews or encourage reviews from only happy customers, one can assume that their stance on keeping page activity authentic applies to ratings and reviews as well.

To encourage reviews the right way, you can simply showcase your Facebook page link with signage (as shown above), or send your customers a link to your Facebook page and ask them to rate and review your business based on their experience.

#6: Get the Facebook Bluetooth Beacon

Another great way to engage with your local customers, as suggested by Mari Smith, is to “apply for a Bluetooth Beacon to help attract more local customers.” This device allows you to send custom messages to people at your business.

bluetooth beacon

A Bluetooth Beacon lets you send messages to customers at your business.

You can edit your Facebook Place Tips in your Page Settings.

page setting

Go to your Page Settings to edit Place Tips.

#7: Keep Your Page Up to Date

For some customers, encountering a Facebook page devoid of a cover photo, profile photo or recent updates is like walking up to a business that looks like it’s closed. To give a great first impression to customers who visit your local business Facebook page, keep your page up to date.

Facebook marketing professional Christian Karasiewicz advises local business owners to “spend time cleaning up your Facebook page. If your cover photo hasn’t been updated in a while, create a new one. Also be sure to fill out as much information as possible about the business in the About section on your page. This helps people find the right page and can also help your page come up when people like similar pages.”

Of course, be sure to keep your page up to date with great updates that are of interest to your local audience and community!

In Conclusion

Facebook Professional Services has the potential to become a huge source of customers for your local business. By following these tips, you can ensure that your local business Facebook page is ready to get the most visibility possible on the network.

What do you think? Are you focusing on your local business Facebook page? What other tips do you have for local business owners and marketers? Please share your thoughts in the comments!

connect with local customers using facebook professional services

Tips to boost visibility and connect with customers using Facebook Professional Services.

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  • Great write up on Facebook Local Services. I believe this is just the beginning of the relevance of Facebook for local businesses.

    The only other element I would add, and it’s more directed toward Google local search, is to make sure your Facebook business page aligns with your Google Maps listing. For any business found in the Facebook directory, especially on page of their category, they more than likely have a Google Maps listings – and the relevance / ranking of that listing can be influenced by the consistency with their Facebook page.

    Great article! Thanks for sharing

  • Rachael Morgen

    Question, I was checking out my company’s local page & there isn’t a way to people to “leave a review”. We are listed as a local business. I checked the button to show the map. But there isn’t anything by it about reviews? Do we need to be listed differently?

  • Велизар Ненов

    Unfortunately making business with and on Facebook can be terrible thing… Once they start flaging, pausing, fu***ng with your pages and ad accounts pray to GOD, because he is the ONLY ONE who may help. The support is terrible, there is no phone to call them… Anarchy entirely! You have to write more articles on how to advertise and grow business in others social medias, because Facebook doesn’t deserve this money we spend because of his horrible support!

  • Great timely article about an emerging FB service that all businesses should be willing to win with. Social proof has become an online necessity; people believe in and perceive in the masses.

  • Outstanding article, as always, dear Kristi! Thanks for the mentions! xx

  • Thanks for the heads up!

    I think it’s a good idea to focus on your local business’s Facebook page (I need to create mine — started another business/career). But don’t put your eggs in one basket. Social media is great, but it could go away tomorrow (unlikely, I know). I would rather invest my time, energy, and money on my website and building my email list. But, I would budget for print and online advertising, too.

  • Great tip. Thanks! 🙂

  • On my local page, the review box is in the left sidebar. Do you see it there?

  • Facebook does have a lot of tricky guidelines and lack of explanation when you overstep one. There are lots of other posts on SME that cover Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other networks though.

  • Thanks Andrew! 🙂

  • Thanks Mari! 🙂

  • I agree – you definitely have to focus on several strategies to ensure your online marketing is a success. Facebook is just one of them – and a big one, for that matter.

  • Martina Kenny

    You need to make sure your address is setup on the page 🙂

  • Fantastic post. One element that I think is missing on Facebook Local Services is a multi-location feature. For example : Physical therapist or Medical Private Practice that has multiple locations in a geo centric locale (Three separate addresses, three locations in a region). Same business- different locations…..I don’t see a way to add more than one location which would complicate efforts via Social. Does that mean creating Three separate FB pages? That seems unrealistic and unnecessary. What would you recommend?

  • Hi Drew! Yes, unfortunately it would require three Facebook pages, one for each location. I think the idea is that each location would have different customers, different check-ins, and different reviews. It’s kind of like Yelp in that aspect. Yes, that makes it tougher to manage, but that’s the only way to get each location to show up to the right customers.

  • Dorien Morin-van Dam

    I checked several of my clients to see how they are listed and I found something that I think is a major flaw. The majority of my clients’ businesses are located in small towns surrounding a larger town. They service the larger town, but aren’t listed there with that addresses. So my ‘tearoom’ in ‘Garden City’ isn’t listed and doesn’t come up when you search ‘tearoom’ in ‘Myrtle Beach’. There doesn’t seem to be a way to search for ‘area’, just by town. This makes it not so great for small towns or small businesses in smaller towns servicing larger towns.

  • Betsy Garside

    Hi Drew,
    Facebook does offer that — used to be called the parent-child pages, seems like they are slowly (and quietly) rolling it out to business users. You have to request it from FB, but I just did for a client and it worked out fine. Clunky, can definitely be improved…but it stops those stray place-pages from cropping up again and again when people check in at the locations that are not officially represented on your single Facebook page.

  • Pawan Mandav

    It is really informative article about Facebook new service. However Facebook should increase/add some new categories for example IT services, Companies etc. So that more webmaster/page owner can submit his/her business on this.

  • I’ve been noticing that as well. It’s very location specific. My husband’s business is listed in Scottsdale, but he serves everywhere in AZ. But you’ll only find him if you specifically search Scottsdale.

  • Hopefully they will! For now, that might be best under Business Services.

  • Jack Bobeck

    Great article, I had to submit a help request to FB, our business is not showing up under services and we do alot on FB, even advertise and have more reviews than some. So something is out of whack. Do you have a widget or favorite plugin for us to put REVIEWS on our WordPress sites? TIA – Jack

  • What is your page, if you don’t mind sharing?

    As far as sharing reviews, I suggest that people use the embed code that you can find when you click on the timestamp for each review and then the dropdown arrow at the top right of the review post itself.