Facebook is testing a feature that will allow users to easily search for local businesses – but there’s a catch.
The companies that will appear in Facebook’s business search are the ones that have “the best Facebook reviews and ratings”.
For example, if a person were to search for a plumber on Facebook they would likely be greeted with plumbers in their local area who have a five-star Facebook rating and positive reviews.
Apart from finding tradies, Facebook’s professional service platform will also cater to people looking for childcare and pet services, hairdressers, beauty salons, financial services and even photographers and graphic designers.
The new feature is in its very early stages, according to TechCrunch, and is so far only available on desktop.
In Australia, users can search for a wide range of popular businesses in capital cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, as well as regional towns.
Social media expert Dionne Lew told SmartCompany it makes sense that Facebook is rolling out this feature because the social media giant has around 50 million business pages and people need to have a “better way to navigate, categorise and find their way through that”.
“My understanding is that it’s not based on [Facebook star] ratings alone,” Lew says.
“But Facebook has not yet come out and explained exactly how the rating service works. So it’s more sophisticated [than just a business’s star rating].”
Lew says Facebook has 1.25 billion users worldwide and people are spending on average one working day a week on Facebook.
“For small businesses, what I would be thinking of are all of those things,” she says.
“People are on Facebook, they’re buying from Facebook, they’re rating businesses on Facebook. And now Facebook is rating local services.
“As a small business, I would let all those factors influence my thinking around how much of a priority I gave Facebook.”
Facebook said earlier this month around 81% of Australians have used Facebook to connect with a small business.
SmartCompany contacted Facebook but did not receive a response prior to publication.
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