Facebook beefed up the functionality of the nearby tab on its mobile applications for iOS and Android, potentially enabling its users to discover more local businesses and, conversely, those businesses to be discovered by more Facebook users.
- Search nearby businesses by specific categories.
- Connect directly to businesses via their mobile phones (like, call, check in, get directions).
- Rate places via a five-star system.
- Share recommendations with friends.
Facebook also offered the following tips for local businesses looking to benefit from its new functionality:
- Include basic information such as your address, store hours, phone number, and details about your business in the about section.
- Update your category. For example, if you are a sushi restaurant, you will not appear if you do not have the correct category listed.
- Encourage connections from customers: likes, check-ins, ratings, and recommendations.
Facebook said in its announcement:
Local businesses have always relied on word-of-mouth recommendations to gain new customers and grow their sales. Whether they’re a new restaurant in the neighborhood, a favorite salon, or a trusted tailor, small businesses often depend on social endorsements to get discovered.
And recommendations from friends become even more important when people are on the go. In fact, 150 million people visit pages on Facebook every day globally. And in the U.S., more than one-half of visitors to Facebook pages are visiting them from mobile devices.
Today we’re pleased to announce updates to nearby, accessed via the Facebook mobile app: Now, in addition to showing which friends have checked in at a particular place, nearby helps people discover places near them based on their friends’ recommendations. People can explore by category (example: restaurants or hotels); connect to businesses directly from their phone (by liking, checking in, calling, or getting directions); rate the places they visit via a five-star system; and share their recommendations with friends.
Readers: Will you try out the new nearby functionality on Facebook’s mobile apps?