The quintessential social network, Facebook, has been busy getting Facebook Pages ready for the mobile era. Banking on the fact that people are spending more time than ever on the Internet and on mobile devices (phones and tablets) to find business information, the company recently introduced several new updates to Facebook Pages, the platform through which business owners can connect with potential and existing customers.
These updates offer new opportunities for businesses to engage with customers and prospects, as well as improve visibility and reputation.
Not quite up to speed with all the changes being made? Here’s a recap of what Facebook has added recently:
Verified badges for Local Business Pages
- Facebook has begun to give local businesses a stamp of authenticity on its Pages platform, in the form of a grey “Verified” badge / check mark that lets users know they’re on the right Page. It’s useful for showing people your official Facebook account as a local merchant.
- According to Facebook, verified Pages will also show up higher in search results.
- Here’s how you can get verified: Just go to your Page’s “Settings”, go to “Page Verification” (under General Settings), click “Verify this Page”, then click “Get Started”. You’ll be asked to enter your business’ publicly listed phone number (and country and language). Then click “Call Me Now” to allow Facebook to call you with a 4-digit verification code, which you can then type into the given field.
- Alternatively, you can use a business document (i.e., phone bill) to get verified. Follow the same process as above; when Facebook asks for the phone number, look for the option that says “Verify this business with documents instead”. You’ll then be asked to upload a photo of the business document. Make sure it shows your business name and address.
Updated Pages messaging
- Owners and administrators of Facebook Pages can now reply to public comments with a private message.
- All you have to do is click the new “Message” button, which will then open a private message thread with the person who left the comment. When you respond privately, the original public comment will show a note indicating that you have responded privately, so that other people will know that you have already handled the request.
- You can now also create and save responses to common questions, which you can pull up and send with one tap of a button. The saved replies can be edited before sending, too.
Bigger, brighter call-to-action buttons
- Now, Facebook pages for business is helping page managers accomplish their goals by adding call-to-action buttons. Now, those buttons are bigger and placed more prominently: directly under your Page’s cover photo.
- Facebook is also adding more types of call-to-action buttons for Page owners, such as “Send Message” (more on this below), “Contact Us”, and “Call Now”.
A new “Send Message” call-to-action button
- There are different types of call-to-action buttons on Facebook. The newest one is the “Send Message” call-to-action button, which allows users to send your Facebook Page a private message directly from a “Send Message” button in a Facebook (local awareness) ad.
- When you receive a message through the “Send Message” call-to-action button, it will come with an attachment that shows you which ad prompted the user to reach out to you.
- As the Facebook Page owner or administrator, you’ll also have the ability to reply to and follow up with those who messaged via the “Send Message” button.
- One great way to improve your brand reputation on Facebook is to respond proactively to comments and messages, especially now that Facebook has introduced Facebook Pages response rates. This feature identifies the most responsive Page owners by publishing dynamic responsiveness ratings that are calculated based on data from the last seven days.
- Facebook Pages that respond to 90 percent of messages and have a median response time of less than 5 minutes will now have a public “Very responsive to messages” badge on their Facebook business profiles.
- Only those Pages with 90 percent response rates will get a badge, but if you’re an administrator of the Page you’ll still be able to see your response rate and median response time in Facebook Page Insights.
New Page sections
- Facebook is adding new sections to Facebook Pages, so that you can feature the information that’s most relevant to your customers and prospects.
- Here are some examples: the new Shop section allows Page owners to showcase a list of their products (great for retailers, for example), while the new Services section highlights professional services that you may have on offer (great, say, for spas or cosmetic surgeons).
- These new sections are laid out as tabs, just like how “Home”, photos and videos, or “Reviews” have their own tabs.
Tips for Business Owners with Updated Facebook Pages
Approximately 1 billion people visit Facebook Pages every month, and 45 million businesses have active Pages on the site.
As more and more people consult Facebook to learn more about businesses and find information, it won’t hurt to integrate Pages to your marketing strategy. Here’s a list of tips that can help you get started:
Claim your business page. According to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, 35 percent of businesses in the US don’t have an online presence at all. If you don’t have a website, blog, or mobile app, you can at least set up your own Facebook Page. It’s free, and more importantly, it allows your business to be more accessible and visible on mobile. (And make sure you get verified, too!)
Update your business information. Don’t stop at creating a Page. Enrich it with all the information that new customers may want to know – including hours, menus, pricing, payment options, shipping information, etc. Consider adding a Shop or Services section if it’s relevant to what your business offers.
Promote your presence on Facebook. Already have a Facebook Page? Get more people to connect with you on the site by promoting the Page where you can: business cards, E-mail signatures, website and blog, posters and marketing materials, and other social networks.
Enable the Review button. Reviews are more effective than “likes” when it comes to developing your business reputation. By enabling the Review button on your Page, you’ll be able to encourage happy customers to give you 5-star ratings and positive word of mouth on Facebook. (Here’s how to enable Facebook reviews.)
Be responsive. Reach out to people who leave comments, reviews, and private messages. If you have the resources, work towards the critical 90 percent response rate, which will reward you with a public “Very responsive to messages” badge. Responding to customers is also a highly effective review management tactic used by today’s leading marketers.
Use the call-to-action buttons. These babies are great for driving engagement levels and achieving specific goals. Depending on your business needs, you can add, say, a “Book Now” button for direct transactions and bookings, or a “Sign Up” button to grow your E-mail subscription list.
Upload high-quality photos. A picture paints a thousand words – and gives your Page visitors a reason to stay and check out in more detail what you have on offer. Photos add visual appeal to your products, services, and brand, while also helping you increase visitor engagement levels and improve conversion.