To Recommend or Not to Recommend: Why Businesses Will Benefit from Facebook Review Changes

Opinion: The social network had previously been reliant on a five-star ratings system

Customers are now faced with a single question Facebook

Facebook is known as a social network, but it’s also one of the most popular websites for customers to leave reviews for local businesses. Long reliant on a five-star ratings system, the social giant is streamlining its approach with the new recommendations for Facebook business pages.

Instead of assigning a star rating and writing a review, customers are now faced with a single question: “Do you recommend [business name]?” After answering yes or no, they are asked to offer comments on what they recommend about the business, or how the business can improve.

Recommendations streamlines the process of leaving reviews and encourages customers to be specific and constructive whether their experience with a business was positive or negative. The move is also beneficial for businesses.

More reviews

Facebook’s star system is visually appealing. However, for customers leaving reviews, the choice between stars creates confusion. What really separates a four-star experience from a five-star experience?

The yes-or-no dichotomy posed by Facebook recommendations makes the process unmistakably clear. Convenience converts, so your business should see more reviews on Facebook with the switch to recommendations. And by providing consistently great service, you should see more positive reviews that can bring you more business.

More engagement

Although the process of leaving a review no longer includes the star rating, Facebook business pages will still display a star rating. This rating is derived from a combination of new recommendations and stars assigned using the former ratings system.

Without having to devote as much time to figuring out how to rate the experience, customers can focus on providing thoughtful comments. Prospective customers will still see the stars, but they will pay more attention to what users have to say about your business.

Because users will be engaging with review content more closely, businesses that focus on managing their online reputation and earning genuine recommendations will have an advantage. Prospective customers can easily spot a false, misleading or obviously purchased review, so businesses will need to encourage actual customers to share their experiences on Facebook.

More visibility

Recommendations appear to users when they search for your business on Facebook. What’s more, recommendations includes a feature that can help businesses highlight positive, sought-after aspects of their services, products and customer experience. This feature is called rich endorsements.

When users recommend a business, they can choose from a series of tags representing positive aspects of the experience. Customers who choose not to recommend a business can also select tags embodying what they would improve.

Bright Local reports that only restaurants and coffee shops currently have access to Rich Endorsements, but Facebook will likely introduce it to other industries over time. When it does reach your industry, think of it like an optimization strategy: The more customers “endorse” a certain aspect of your business, the more likely you are to get new customers seeking a business with the asset in which your customers say you excel.

Less reporting … for now

As with any major platform change, the shift to Facebook recommendations will likely disrupt automated software that alerts businesses when new reviews get published on Facebook. Until reviews and ratings platforms can interface with recommendations, business owners will need to be diligent in monitoring recommendations on their Facebook business page.

A good reputation management strategy should not rely solely on automation. Businesses can still encourage users to recommend them on Facebook. And when you and your employees ask for Facebook recommendationsؙ—in-person or online—word the request to suggest the attributes you’d like your satisfied customers to discuss.

Facebook recommendations looks like a major overhaul for reputation management, and in some respects it is. However, despite the challenges of adapting to a new system, the shift should benefit both customers and businesses.

With its emphasis on authentic reviews, recommendations reinforces the status of Facebook business pages as a leading platform for bona-fide customer reviews. Businesses that treat it as a tool for building a positive online reputation will be able to leverage recommendations as a springboard to get more customers, thus building their brand and driving revenue.

Dan Goldstein is president and owner of full-service digital marketing agency Page 1 Solutions.