Facebook Nearby Updates and How Local Businesses Can React

December 20th, 2012 by Search Influence Alumni

Facebook Nearby Gets a Facelift
Last Monday, Facebook released updates to its check-in feature “Nearby” in an effort to bring some competition to social sites like Yelp and Foursquare. Each month millions of Facebook users check in with the service, reporting their whereabouts to their friends. Now, Facebook is using that information to show you places you will most likely be interested in.

How does it do it? With the update, Facebook will consider your proximity to a place with the amount of check-ins, Likes, star ratings and recommendations made by your friends and other users. The update also allows users to search through 7 other categories, which include Restaurants, Coffee, Night Life, Outdoors, Arts, Hotels and Shopping. From each category, there are subcategories to further help narrow to your desired results.

Updated Nearby results are shown on a split screen of map and list of businesses with relevant rating information. Each business listed appears with the business name, profile picture, address, distance from you, star rating and friends that have Liked it.

Although Facebook Nearby has been dabbling in the check-in game for awhile, this update could be the inspiration needed to help it become more of an authority.

What Does This Mean for Local Businesses?
Well, in short, it is another arena you will need to monitor and encourage interaction. Because this algorithm takes into account check-ins, Likes and recommendations, the more interaction between your business Facebook page and consumers, the higher it will appear on the Nearby list. Leading to the question of how to get consumers to visit, check-in, rate, Like or review a business.

Tips to Gain Facebook Interaction:

  • Make it easy. If you haven’t done it already, go create your business’s Facebook place page. Without it, consumers will be left to either create their own or not have the capability to check-in. This can cause issues from naming conventions to potential customers now knowing you exist.
  • Offer deals. Deals give an incentive for users to enter your business and try your products. Check-in deals or incentives to encourage consumers to rate or leave reviews on Facebook can increase interaction.
  • Stay active. Thank users for commenting or reviewing your business, and encourage interaction on your main page. Saying thank you can go a long way for many consumers, both current and potential.
  • Be interesting. Add photos and relevant information to your place page. For example, if you are a restaurant, add images of your menu, food and location.
  • Be helpful. Clearly list your operating hours and contact information.

Only time will tell whether the Facebook update to the Nearby application will become more popular with users and beneficial to business owners; in the meantime, optimizing your page for its potential benefits is just smart.