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Facebook Local and what it means for Local Businesses

A new Facebook feature that has been rolled out for Business Pages that businesses need to aware of.

It appears Facebook is working on aspects of Facebook Local (which hasn’t really hit the news much yet). An aspect of Local that has appeared, shows suggested pages to like, under a page you may go to that you have not previously liked.

What this means for Local Businesses?

The Good? Your business might show up on a local competitor’s page.

The Bad? Vice versa, almost all the local business pages I unliked, and then liked again showed competitors pages in the suggested page results.

The Pretty Good? It will not show up to people that are already fans of your page.

Results are influenced by friends, so someone else might see a slightly different version of suggested likes then you. So liking and unliking your own page will not give you 100% reliable results. Results are a combination of friend likes, but most importantly a category you have your page under.

For a restaurant, if you have your category under “Local Business” and “Restaurant/Cafe” it’s going to bring up “related” results, i.e. other restaurants and related hospitality.

If you change the category to “Companies and Organizations” and “Food and Beverages” (for example) you get generic local results. I have not tried all the combinations yet, but it makes a huge difference in results.

Since this is important to address for Businesses to address, as obviously you don’t want your competition showing up in results, change your category tags.

The other way around this would be to reinstitute like-gating pages. There were two types of ways to like-gate pages before Facebook changed how business pages look. One first type (which is no longer an option) was requiring fans to “like” your page before they could see content. The other way was setting up a subpage through an application that a customer would like first without seeing the home page. You would have to redirect people to another link though in your advertising.

I would suggest changing your category tags first and foremost.

If you would like to see screenshots of what page results look like using the different categories and an example of likegating, please visit http://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/facebook-local-and-what-it-means-for-bed-and-breakfasts/

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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