If you’re a member of a Facebook group for your local area, you will have noticed strange maps popping up every time someone posts and asks for a recommendation.
Kirsty our UK-based SEO guru and copywriter explores the wonderful world of Facebook Recommendations.
What she found might surprise you, as Facebook recommendations don’t necessarily work the way you’d expect them to…
How is a Facebook recommendation post triggered?
A new algorithm from Facebook is on the lookout for mentions of words based on or similar to, “recommend”. It is poised and ready to pop anyone’s suggested businesses on a map like this:
However, the business will only appear on the map only if:
- the business that someone suggests is already on Facebook OR
- the owner is a Friend of the poster OR
- the owner is a personal member of the same group
What shows in Facebook
The results, as you can see, are a rather mixed bag of results. The algorithm does its best to match up business names and people, but it’s not always accurate. This is because, when you type a business name into Facebook in response to a Recommendation post, Facebook offers you a choice of Facebook business names to choose from, local or not!
So, is it really worth the effort?
Yes! The rewards of being recommended on Facebook can be huge. A recommendation is both a positive review and hot lead rolled into one. When your business is recommended, you receive a notification. You can then respond to the original person who posted the request, and start a conversation.
Look how this local company got a recommendation, and maximised its impact within minutes by starting a conversation and including a picture of the job they did for the person who recommended them!
Neat, eh? Bet he got the job too.
Facebook recommendations: how they work
Here’s how recommending a local business on Facebook works in practice. (Since this blog was written in the UK, the examples are from my local area. Never fear, it’s just as tortuous wherever you live!)
I’ve seen a post on my local group and I want to recommend the following service (this is a real business, btw, and highly recommended by my local friends)
Eddie's Home Maintenance Service
I want to recommend him for a job. I get as far as typing the first part of his business name, "Eddie", and Facebook shows up suggestions of people within the group called Eddie.
Fair enough, but I want to recommend Eddie’s business, not his personal profile.
I continue typing, and even when I reach the end of the business name,, no suggestion has turned up, despite Eddie’s page being on Facebook,
So, I think I now have to go and find Eddie’s business by doing a search on Facebook, and copy the URL of his page.
And of course that means I’ve just lost my place on the local group page where I first saw the post. So, I find it again, and type in the Facebook URL.
Only when I post my comment does Eddie’s business listing finally appear.
All in all, a frustrating way to recommend a business.
There is an easier way...
So, how can you get the recommendations you want, without your customers having to go around the block several times to even get FB to recognise you exist? Another search for a restaurant in Reading gave me a clue.
I wanted to recommend the Coconut Bar Kitchen (again, a real place). However, true to form, Facebook didn’t seem to recognise the name (sigh). So I put in the website address instead. And hit return.
Suddenly I was into the recommendation cycle - hoorah!
THE CRUCIAL PART I'D MISSED
Sadly, only when I’d finished all that did I realise something important. Facebook doesn’t suggest business names until after you hit return and post your comment.
What to tell your customers
The moral of this story is: if you want your customers to recommend your business on Facebook, make sure your Company Facebook page has a link to your website. Sounds obvious, bit it’s clearly one of the way that the Facebook algorithm ties up typed recommendations with real FB Company pages.
Also, keep an eye on these groups yourselves. If a likely job come up, you can recommend your own company,. Hopefully, an existing customer might then add their own recommendation after noticing you were interested.
So, take every opportunity to remind customers that all they need is your website address, and they can recommend you anytime of Facebook. The Recommendations Facebook algorithm should do the rest.