So you need a haircut, and your last stylist didn’t make the shortlist. How do you find a new place?
You could choose the slower, more personal route, and text friends in the area for their thoughts. Or you can ask your 800 Facebook friends all at once.
Facebook Recommendations is one of the platform’s many advantages. You’ve probably seen a request for recommendations, which looks something like this:
You can ask for recommendations for landscaping services, flower delivery, or local eateries — basically whatever you can think of. What’s special about these recommendations is Facebook has incorporated them into star ratings for business pages.
You may remember a time when Facebook businesses were rated on a five-point scale based on their reviews. Facebook members would head over to your page and write up their experience, much like they would on any other review site.
In 2020, that changed. The review section was replaced by a recommendations section. While the five-point rating remains, Facebook users are given two choices when reviewing a business: Would you recommend this business, or would you not?
If you had a Facebook business page before the changeover, you’ll still have your old reviews and score average. Now, users rate you either a one or a five depending on whether they recommend you.
Users can go straight to your page to give a recommendation, or recommendations they give on their newsfeed that are set to public can be automatically pulled into the recommendations section of your page.
That’s what separates Facebook Recommendations from many online review competitors. That . . . and a few other key demographic details.
Love it or hate it, Facebook is one of the most popular websites worldwide.
The stats from Facebook are telling:
Your biggest benefit with Facebook is its visibility. One and a half billion people are connecting with small businesses on Facebook, and many more with large companies, too. Facebook is one of the top three most visited sites in the United States, and it’s among the top ten worldwide.
Facebook Recommendations are useful to the average business owner for several other reasons, too. Check out why you should be building a portfolio of positive reviews on Facebook.
You know that widget that pops up on Google when you search a business? The “Reviews from the web” widget on Google can pull your review scores to feature from a few websites — Facebook is one of them.
Now your Facebook rating isn’t on website #3, it’s on website #1. Google is not simply the most visited webpage; it’s one of the most popular review sites.
Google algorithmically pulls Facebook reviews from your business page, so you can’t manually add them. But if Google chooses to feature the good word about your business through glowing Facebook scores, that’s even more people who get to see ratings from your happy customers.
When a customer leaves a recommendation, their Facebook friends will see that recommendation on their feed.
Conversely, if someone asks for a recommendation, the one you give in a Group or on a friend's post will appear on the business’s page.
These are features almost no other review platform has. I’ve yet to get an email from Google alerting me that a contact of mine left a review for my local laundromat. And while Yelp does have a forum to ask others questions, like which housekeeping service is best, your glowing recommendation from the forum won’t appear on a business page.
In other words, more friends and family see Facebook Recommendations, and Facebook Recommendations are some of the easiest reviews to write.
You want a client's direct contacts seeing what they think, because word-of-mouth-marketing is one of the most powerful paths to conversion.
You also want reviews to be hassle-free to write, because then more people will write them.
Ever gotten a one-word review? That’s not helpful to your business or readers. You want to know what went wrong or right, and so do potential customers.
Thankfully, Facebook asks reviewers some guiding questions to add detail.
The process starts with a simple question: Do you recommend X business? Yes or no? Leading with a soft pitch like this invites more customers to answer.
Answering the question opens a prompt to type about your experience. A Facebook Recommendation needs to be minimum 25 characters long, which doesn’t require much of the writer, but it gives you a little more detail in their feedback.
Then, Facebook asks the customer to choose keywords related to their feedback. These keywords are generated from past reviews. These tags brief you on the most common compliments customers are giving your business. That helps you organize the feedback.
Facebook also lets reviewers add pictures, and that’s second-nature on a social media site. Reviewers can upload photos for their recommendation.
Are you not so sure you’ll get glowing reviews? If recommendations have hurt your business more than helped, you can disable the reviews section of your business page. This removes the ratings from your page, so tread carefully and use this as a last-ditch effort when responding to the critics fails.
Facebook has made enabling and disabling the Recommendations page pretty simple — that makes sweeping pesky negative reviews under the rug easy. But don't get used to hiding a bad reputation; learn to fix it instead.
Having trouble with fake reviews or need help with your account? Like many large companies, it’s hard to get ahold of a person in support. Your complaints are typically resolved through dropdown menus, direct messages, and fill-in-the-blanks.
A person eventually reviews your case if you report a review, but it’s doubtful that you’ll secure a one-on-one chat for help in that situation. Facebook does offer chat support with people, but advertises no phone numbers or emails to contact.
Read also: How to Catch and Remove Fake Reviews
Facebook users can choose who sees their recommendation of your business. If they set it to friends only, the average net browser won’t be able to see their recommendation on your business page.
This privacy enables people who value their privacy to share their thoughts with friends, even if they wouldn’t on more public review sites. But the downside is you want aggregate feedback visible on your page, and private recommendations don’t add to that.
It’s nifty to have Google pull your Facebook review score onto its main page. But that doesn’t always happen.
Because Google pulls the “Reviews from the web” section algorithmically, I’ve seen some companies with great Facebook ratings and a strong profile have their scores from other review sites prioritized.
For example, this hair salon had 38 Facebook reviews and a rating of 4.7 stars. However, Google pulled from a site where they had three reviews and a lower star average:
But check this out for a local restaurant:
So it wasn’t the volume of ratings that was an issue.
I also saw a restaurant with a five-star rating from 45 people on Facebook, but no “Reviews from the web” section.
The mysteries of the algorithm. You could ensure your business details on Google and Facebook line up and use your schema to get your Facebook profile added to the Google widget, but even then you have no guarantee.
In fact, I checked over a hundred businesses to see whether Google pulled their Reviews from the web section from Facebook. Most of the time, Google prioritizes niche review websites for their "Reviews from the web" section, like Zomato for restaurants or Angie’s List for home services.
This can be said of any review platform: focusing your efforts on one isn't enough. Facebook Recommendations will capture a swath of social media browsers doing their research. That's because Facebook holds 52 percent of social media's influence on purchasing decisions.
But what about the other review sites that are ranking well for your review keywords? What about review sites that have more customizable features that help you gather and share reviews?
Facebook Recommendations are great, but don't use them alone.
There’s no denying it: Facebook Recommendations are useful. Facebook Reviews are easily shareable with a big audience, and friends and family can spread the word if they like your services.
But a business can’t get by with only one review platform, particularly if reviews aren’t its primary service. The best approach to online reputation management is to gather reviews on several sites. Expand your review portfolio with niche specialist websites, sites with high traffic, and sites that rank well for the keyword “your brand name + reviews.”
Customers consult more than one source when they research your company, so while Facebook Recommendations is a popular place for people to check, you should also cover your bases with other review platforms.
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