We saw Facebook launch their Facebook Events app last year, and it didn’t really take off.
They’ve now relaunched Events as the standalone Facebook Local app.
Here’s what we know about Facebook Local so far, how we see it impacting businesses and how you can get ahead of the game.
So, what is Facebook Local:
As Facebook Product Manager, Aditya Koolwal says “The new app, helps you easily find what to do, where to go, where to eat, or what you need – all recommended by people you know and trust.”
The new Facebook Local that will change how people interact with businesses and events
We’ll see this new app rival existing platforms like Tripadvisor, Yelp and Foursquare.
The app connects to your Facebook account, making it easily accessible to get started. Whilst the app is currently only available in US app stores, we expect to see it rollout worldwide soon, which means it doesn’t hurt to start tailoring your Facebook Marketing and advertising strategy now.
What We Know About Facebook Local And How It’s Different To Events
We saw the previous Events app fail.
The big reason?
It didn’t offer any extra value and became an extra thing for people to use. For no real purpose.
While Events collated information that was already available in the normal Facebook app, Local is different.
“How is Facebook Local different to Facebook Events?”
With Facebook Local, it simplifies the search process. With the app,
- People can search for locations and events by name or categories
- Categories include food, drinks, games, fitness, film, music, religion and health
- People can sort these results by relevance, popularity, distance and rating
- The app will show events and locations your friends and facebook network have showed interest in
- People can sort by opening times
- Each listing contains key information about the spot like hours, photos of the location, address, Facebook rating and popular keywords mentioned
- Directions to the location will be linked via third-party maps app
- People can go directly to the Facebook page, website or call the spot within the app
Facebook Local connects your Facebook account to the app, adding a whole host of functionality.
Whilst platforms like Yelp or Foursquare allow you to find a restaurant and read the reviews, Facebook Local allows you to do that plus combines it with your trusted network.
Here’s why that matters:
With other platforms, you’re seeing reviews from people you don’t know. With Local, it highlights reviews and activity that comes from your friends. Most likely people whose opinions you trust.
You can also filter by opening times, allowing for on-the-go search. That makes it great for attracting last minute attendees to your business or event.
Private Events are also integrated. Birthday invites, parties, celebrations – they can all be stored and added along with public events.
Find the Events section of Facebook messy?
Local solved that.
They’ve included a dedicated calendar to allow you to keep track of upcoming events and past events. Basically it streamlines the entire process of finding and saving events.
What It Means For Your Facebook For Business Strategy
Facebook Local can change the way people search for information and make decisions.
What does that mean for you as a business?
The app will influence how people spend money. Like Instagram and fashion e-commerce. Local is a vehicle for the right people to find your business.
What does that mean for Local Businesses:
From eating at your restaurant, staying at your hotel or buying a ticket to your event. Your target audience will potentially be using this as a first and final step in their decision making process.
Other benefits include:
- Added Layer of Social Proof: By connecting your friend network, events and locations are vetted by those you trust.
- Attract Tourists: With the trending now feature, it will be easier for tourists to become aware of local entertainment, events or specials at your business.
- Personalization: Facebook has taken search options to the next level. Facebook Product Manager Aditya Koolwal says the app “makes it a lot easier to do certain kind of look-ups that are very common when making plans with friends.” Better delivery of search results and a more personalized user experience will help conversion.
How Do We See Audience Engagement Changing
It’s also an extra channel to generate awareness and reach your ideal target audience.
Think about the way someone may have searched before. Let’s take a restaurant as an example:
- Pete is a 28 year old corporate worker in Bangkok that enjoys eating out and trying new restaurants.
- Pete is looking for a restaurant to eat at on Tuesday night. He feels like a bowl of Pho.
Before: Pete might have done one or more of the following:
- He might have gone to Google and searched for “Best Vietnamese Restaurants in Bangkok”
- He might have visited Tripadvisor and sorted by “Bangkok” “Places To Eat” “Vietnamese Restaurants”
- Used a Food Review Platform to search (like Yelp or Foursquare)
An Example Of The Current Search Experience For Finding Restaurants
Before Pete would need to filter through the results and may not have enough information to make a decision.
He might need to leave the app, which means you might lose the conversion.
With Facebook Local not only will he have everything he needs to know but the growth and reach for the business will be exponential with the link to your social network.
Search, Map and Information Functions from Facebook Local (US) Image Credit: Marketing Land
- Pete can choose to go to Local, search for a Vietnamese restaurant and see if there are specials or events. Plus, if any of his friends have visited or left feedback.
- He can see if any of his friends are currently there
- Call and use maps to book or get to the business within the app.
- Leave a Facebook review, which will then be seen by his friends (also potential target audience).
- Visit the business’s Facebook Page within the app
The search and evaluation process is easier with Local.
His positive interaction with the business is easier.
Lastly, it stores his personal likes and event information, increasing top of mind awareness. Simply put? Pete is less likely to forget your business or event as Local is now part of his buyer behavior.
Facebook Local Tips: What You Can Do As A Business Now
With Facebook Local on the pulse of changing decision making for attractions, local events and even travelers.
It has never been more important to be on top of your Facebook Marketing Strategy.
Before the full rollout of Facebook Local, you should aim to increase your engagement across your Facebook page and Facebook Events.
By increasing your engagement now, you’ll increase the amount of relevant people who see you on Facebook Local, increasing the potential leads to your business.
We know that Facebook will take into account factors like Facebook Reviews, Attendance on Facebook Events, and Business Information and Popularity.
Where You Should Be Increasing Engagement With A Facebook Marketing Strategy
- Increase Engagement With Your Page: What does your Facebook content strategy look like? Are you actively working on great and relevant content to attract your key audience to like and engage with your page? Do you produce videos on your page to promote your products or brand?
- Include Facebook Ads In Your Strategy: If you’re producing great content, are you continuing to expand your reach? Have you got a great Facebook Advertising campaign that targets Lookalike audiences or adds value to make them aware of your offerings?
With Facebook Advertising, you can reach new people who you can turn into returning customers. With Facebook Local, these people will increase your reach across their network.
We’ve created and run many successful lead generating, high-return Facebook Advertising Campaigns. To find out how we can do the same for you, contact us now.
- Increase Your Facebook Reviews: Encourage your customers to leave a review on your page. Do you have a system in place to encourage these reviews?
Your Facebook Reviews will transfer over to Facebook Local and is likely to play a factor in your business’s popularity on the app. These reviews can be the difference in making a conversion/sale and not.
- Optimize Your Event Listings: No longer is it good enough to have a Facebook event with the bare minimum information. Create enticing Facebook events to help convert people to click “Attending”.
By cultivating this behavior now, you’ll increase your popularity and exposure on Facebook Local.
Is your business information correct?
- Optimize Your Facebook Page: With maps, calling capability, opening hours, website information and more. Make sure your page is completely optimized to stop any barriers from a customer paying you a visit. If you have an event, is it easy to see where they can buy a ticket? Do you have professional photos of your food or location on your page?
Your Facebook page is a promotion for your business. With behavior changing and event and attraction attendance driven through social media, it has never been more important to make sure you have your best game face on.
The Primal Way – How Will These Changes Drive Sales To Your Business Or Facebook Events
This is a new channel to drive sales, especially for hospitality businesses and event listings. It will have all the information that you might have on your website or Facebook page but with better search functionality and user experience.
Facebook Local gives people the ability to make a booking or see event information (where they can purchase a ticket) directly in the app.
That means it’s the exact place you can reach and promote to relevant people who are going to visit your business or attend your event.
For businesses and events, the work you put into Facebook now will do double-duty across Facebook and later Facebook Local as a sales channel.
Here at Primal, we are focused on delivering bottom-line results.
What does that mean?
We build a streamlined strategy across relevant digital marketing channels to get you in front of the right audience. With the right people consuming your content, we’ll help you increase positive conversions and make sales.
We’ve helped many businesses increase and optimize their Facebook presence. Putting them where they need to be.