Facebook Changes “Nearby” Section

Facebook has made changes to its popular “Nearby” section.

Nearby is a section of the Facebook app, which previously allowed users to enable their current location and see what friends were nearby based on where they last checked-in at. The latest  update changes this section into something more like Google maps, Yelp, or Foursquare. The latest “Nearby” on Facebook permits users to search for nearby businesses. The businesses are divided into several categories:

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee
  • Nightlife
  • Outdoors
  • Arts
  • Hotels
  • Shopping

Facebook Places Categories Nearby Update December Places Bryan Nagy

Some categories are broken down further to allow for increased search capabilities. For example, restaurants can be chosen based on the type of food they serve, such as Chinese, French, barbecue, and pizza. Once the specific category is chosen, the user is shown a map displaying their current location and where their desired businesses are.

Facebook Nearby Update December Places Bryan Nagy

Each business shows the distance the user is from it, how many people like the business on Facebook, how many people have checked in (including how many of their Facebook friends have checked in), reviews (even star ratings), and their Facebook page.

Facebook Places Starbucks About Timeline Nearby Update December Places Bryan Nagy

Facebook Places Starbucks Timeline Nearby Update December Places Bryan Nagy

What do the updates to the “Nearby” section mean for businesses?

  1. It is increasingly important for businesses to keep their Facebook pages up to date. This includes contact information and posts. Users searching for businesses can now easily see a business’s Facebook page. Those Facebook Pages with more information and posts will likely generate more visits.
  2. Reviews and recommendations on Facebook pages will become even more important. Does you business have any recommendations on your Facebook page yet? If not, push users to review your business. Make posts asking them to do so, send emails to your email list, and even run ads on Facebook targeting users who currently like your Facebook page. The more reviews your business has, the more users might visit your business.
  3. Promotions on your Facebook Page will now easily show up to users searching for businesses like yours. Since search results link directly to a business’s Facebook Page, any promotion posts made on the Page can be more easily seen by users. If you have promotions running, make sure to post them on Facebook. This could make the difference between a user visiting your business or your competitor.
  4. Facebook Pages for separate locations will become even more important (for now). Currently, the search results are based on locations that users have already checked-in at. For businesses with multiple locations (such as Starbucks) this means search results do not link directly to the brand’s overall Facebook Page, they link to that specific location’s. This means it’s important for businesses to start developing location-based Facebook Pages, if they haven’t already. I hope that in the future Facebook changes this, as for many businesses it will mean more work, less cohesion between marketing messages, and a question of who owns the page.
  5. Users can now like a page from search results. This means increased exposure for possible Page likes.

I urge you to check out the changes today on Facebook Places. It’s quite useful and I think the implications for brands may be great in the future.

-Bryan Nagy

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