How to Take Advantage of Facebook for Local Marketing

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I don’t know how many hours I’ve spent complaining about local marketing on Facebook. It’s clunky. It’s slow. The search function doesn’t work well. You can’t find what you want when you want it. At times it feels like your social network is a loop. Like a suburban cul-de-sac. Going round and round and never getting anywhere.

Until recently, this feeling was shared by consumers and business owners alike. But not anymore.

Over the last year, Facebook has been ramping up its local marketing game. With the introduction of Home Services to its Marketplace and the launch of the Facebook Local app, Facebook is quickly becoming the go-to app for local searches.

If you’re a business owner that needs to capitalize on local markets, read on!

Facebook, What Took You So Long?

For ages now, Google has dominated local marketing. Business owners know it. Consumers know it. And we at LinkNow Media, as local marketing specialists, definitely know it.

Google seems to have figured out a secret to online marketing: when Google Maps users search for goods, services, or a specific business, they’re usually at or near the end of the sales funnel. They want to buy. And they’re looking for businesses nearby.

So, why didn’t Facebook understand this? It seems like Facebook was caught up on the idea that people want to see what their friends are doing. The idea is that you’ll be friends with people that have similar interests, and if you haven’t heard about an event or a business, someone else in your network will. Eventually, you’ll hear about it too. But then it’s too late.

And if the near-complete failure of their Events app (from a couple years ago) is any indication, falling into algorithmically induced feedback loops is not a great way to market local businesses.

Introducing: Facebook Local

Facebook Local is a standalone app that simplifies the way users can connect locally. It allows users to search for and find local businesses and local events that are happening soon. It’s all about immediacy.

In fact, it’s built right into the app design. Unlike the overly complicated Facebook app, Facebook Local offers a stripped-down main screen with three tabs. The home screen offers a search bar for quickly finding nearby restaurants, shops, and local services, as well as events you may be interested in attending.

The second screen is a map and search bar which seems to take Yelp as its inspiration. There you can search for general categories like ‘pizza’, ‘vintage clothing’, ‘near me’ or, if you know what you’re looking for, the business name. The third section is your calendar of events—a simplified way to see what you’re going to and when you’re going to go.

Keep Your Facebook Business Page up to Date

Facebook Local allows users to easily and quickly find the businesses they want. That means it’s now more important than ever to keep your Business Page up to date. Here are some tips for making your business searchable through the Facebook Local app.

  1. Make sure your contact information is correct. As Facebook continues improving its map function and geolocation services, the importance of getting your business on the map can’t be understated. And don’t forget about your phone number. Correct information leads to conversion.
  2. Update your page with relevant images. It should take about 15 seconds (or less) for a user to decide whether your business is right for them. Quality images that are relevant to your business are crucial for establishing trust.
  3. Respond to reviews.Every business with an online presence knows the importance of reviews for their business. If you get negative reviews, respond to them thoughtfully. Address the user’s concerns. Treat them with respect. This is a great way to establish rapport with current and future clients. And don’t forget to thank your clients for their positive reviews too!
  4. Use relevant keywords. Facebook Pages allows businesses to select a set of keywords that represent them. Choose carefully. When people are searching for general categories in their Local app, you’ll be the first to pop up if you choose keywords that users are searching for.
  5. Create event pages.There is perhaps a no better way to advertise your business than through events pages. Make the most of the fact that a large percentage of users only use Facebook to find events that they’re interested in.

Facebook Marketplace and Home Services

Until recently, Facebook users made use of Groups to connect service providers and sellers with interested buyers. With the introduction of Facebook Marketplace, Facebook tried to organize these organic connections into a unified place. But something was missing. There was nowhere to find or purchase home services from local carpenters, contractors, electricians, and more.

In May 2018, Facebook announced that it would be adding home services to Marketplace. Not only that, but they’re now partnering with industry leaders Handy, HomeAdvisor, and Porch. That means that when a Facebook user finds a contractor through Marketplace, the contractor will have been vetted by, for example, Handy. Users can not only find the residential remodeling or repair services they need, but they can also be sure they’re hiring a professional.

For business owners, this means getting familiarized with the Facebook Marketplace interface. It will allow you to market your services in a more direct way than ever before. If a user is interested in a service you offer, they can send you a message right then and there. And when the client is happy with the work, they can leave a review right there on your business page.

This makes Facebook uniquely suited to local marketing strategies: this kind of direct engagement with clients is not possible on any other social media platform.

Is Facebook Better Than Google for Local Marketing?

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to say. Just yet. But as Facebook tries to cut away at Google’s domination of local marketing, we suggest taking a multi-pronged approach that takes advantage of Facebook’s newest services, products, and apps.


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