Small businesses in Australia will now be able to have their Facebook pages verified so fans and potential customers can be certain they have found the right account.
Previously, Facebook only verified particular pages, including those of media organisations and large companies such as Kmart and Coles, with a blue badge.
Now, small local businesses can jump on the bandwagon and apply for a grey verification badge for their Facebook account.
Small businesses can fill out an application within the Settings function of their Facebook page and will need to provide the social network with a contact phone number to have their application approved.
The function is also being rolled out in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The new feature aims to ensure small businesses are protected from potential copycats and is the latest in a raft of changes designed to make it easier to run a business from Facebook.
In early August, Facebook rolled out an update allowing businesses to privately reply to user comments.
Kirsten Bury, product marketing manager for Facebook pages, said the social media platform will roll out the grey badge in other countries shortly.
“We are expanding our verified pages program to include businesses for the first time,” Bury said.
“Now, local businesses in Australia can add a badge to their page that lets people know they’re visiting that business’s official Facebook presence. We plan to extend verified pages for local businesses to more countries soon.”
Social media expert Dionne Lew told SmartCompany small businesses should take up Facebook’s offer to verify their page.
“I think the more digital we become the more people will want to feel assured they’re connecting with a legitimate business or person,” Lew says.
“So, having a higher bar to get up but that bestows credibility is worth it. Twitter has the same and I think it would get more users if it offered it publicly as it helps manage account hijacking or spoofing.”
Lew says Facebook’s decision to allow business owners to verify their Facebook page shows how seriously the platform takes small business.
“To me it makes sense and I think businesses will benefit, too, because it increases trust,” she says.
“I also think this signals further maturing of social platforms as business tools – essential business tools.”