Facebook Releases New Tool to Boost Word-of-Mouth

25 Oct Facebook Releases New Tool to Boost Word-of-Mouth

Originally published by Kristina Centnere, here.

“I know a guy” is the most powerful method of advertising. It’s likely that you have used this trusted source of referring and getting referrals for any services – from medical to hair dresser. Since the inception of the phenomenon that is social media, it has amplified our ability to give and get referrals to trusted providers.

People love to give their opinions and social media gives them the venue to do so. Think of the last time you saw someone ask on Facebook, the most powerful social referral network, who knows a …? It is likely one of the most engaged with posts as comments and referrals come flooding in.

On October 19th, 2016, Facebook took it a step further by releasing new tools that make it easier to ask for recommendations and act on the referrals given by friends.

 

Asking for recommendations

Facebook explains:

“Whether traveling to a new place, looking for a hair salon, or searching for the perfect place to eat, people already turn to their friends, family, and local Groups on Facebook for advice. We’re rolling out a new tool that makes it easier to get and organize all those recommendations in one place.”

The new tool allows you to turn your post into a call for recommendations from your connections. When you are writing a post that sounds like an ask for a referral, Facebook detects your query (how cool is that?) and proposes that you use the recommendation tool. If you accept, a call for suggestions appears in your friends’ News Feed, letting them know you are looking for a referral.

facebook_recommend

As you can see on the images above, when asking for a recommendation, an option to “Turn On” Recommendations comes up. Once accepted, a map is generated, which then gets filled with recommendations based on friends’ referrals, located within your search area. The map allows you to see the recommendations relative to your exact location, as we all take convenience into consideration when making our decisions.

Because this is a new feature and not everyone words their asks in a manner Facebook’s algorithm can recognize, Facebook came up with a recommendation page, which allows you to both track your previous asks and ask for a new recommendation.

 

From a business perspective

This tool is Facebook’s win at serving both of their user bases – consumers and businesses. For anyone hoping Facebook’s reign over social advertising for businesses was going to end, this is a strong reminder that it is here to stay. Local businesses that are buzz-worthy are bound to see an increase in foot traffic. On the contrary, businesses that have been avoiding being active on Facebook will not.

Second to recommendations for food joints, wellness spots, including gyms, spas and health practitioners are the most asked for referrals on social platforms. A local wellness practitioner must consider this a great opportunity and reason to get active on their social media or chance missing out on patients they could help.

 

Acting on recommendations

In addition to giving users the ability to get recommendations, Facebook is making it easier to act on them. Businesses and events are getting upgrades on their buttons, making ordering food or tickets only one click away.

As Facebook states:

“We’re introducing some new ways for people to take action faster once they’ve found something they want to do or a place they want to go.

  • Order food: You can now order food from restaurants directly from their Facebook Pages. Simply click “Start Order” on any restaurant’s Facebook Page that uses Delivery.com or Slice.
  • Request an appointment: For local businesses that require you to book an appointment, such as spas and salons, you can now request a time via the business’ Facebook Page and view their entire slate of services and offerings. They’ll then get back to you on Messenger to confirm your appointment.
  • Get a quote: Some local business Pages will now have a “Get Quote” button at the top that lets you easily and quickly request a quote from the business.
  • Get tickets to movies and events: For many new movies this fall, you can buy movie tickets straight from their Facebook Pages via Fandango. In partnership with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite, we’re also making it possible for people to get tickets to other events — free or paid — directly from the event page on Facebook.”

Facebook is able to provide these long-awaited features due to partnerships with third-party services. As of 10/24/16, only HomeAdvisor, Microsoft Bookings, and MyTime customers are able to connect their business page services. However, a long list of other providers are coming soon!

Eligible businesses can enable the new functions by going to their business Page, clicking “Settings”, then selecting the “Partner Apps and Services” section or via the ‘Add Button’ prompt on the Page.

 

Facebook’s New Events App

100 million people use Facebook events every day to post, promote and join events. With its new app and updated in-app Events tab, Facebook is capitalizing on its 650 million users by giving them a way to find events nearby to attend. By showing other friends who are attending the event, Facebook is magnifying the word-of-mouth. As seen below, the set up process is easy and intuitive.

facebook_events_done

From a marketer’s perspective, this is a great move by Facebook as its Events promotion ads are notorious for performing poorly. However, as it becomes more social, local and easier to track, Facebook ads will once again become a valid investment of marketing dollars for event organizers and promoters. Additionally, it may welcome back more teens and twenty-somethings who have escaped to Instagram.

 

With these 3 new updates, Facebook is on its way to increasing engagement, which is crucial for this platform, pleasing the business and consumer communities, as well as making the platform more fun and useful. After all, isn’t that what social media should be about?

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