Facebook started as a way for friends and family to keep in touch, but as the service has evolved it's added more business-oriented features. One of its latest features is consumer-oriented, but will have a big impact on businesses anyway. Whether you love Facebook or hate it, your business needs to be on it.
More than Likes
The new feature lets members go beyond "liking" a business on its page. Now they can post ratings and reviews of service providers. Businesses that have been monitoring and responding to reviews on ratings sites like Angie's List and Yelp now need to add Facebook to their scans.
Facebook doesn't let businesses delete ratings, but you can report a rating that violates guidelines. You can also respond to a review by adding a comment. This being Facebook, there's a "Like" button you can click as well.
Facebook will use reviews and ratings as part of developing a recommendation engine to suggest businesses to its members.
Own Your Business Page
Even if you didn't create a Page for your business on Facebook, one may already exist as an unofficial page. In order to monitor and respond to member reviews of a business, you'll need to claim ownership of the page. Make sure business information, such as location and hours, is accurate on Facebook to avoid disappointing potential customers and getting negative reviews. Because Facebook's influence is so significant, your business needs to be on Facebook no matter how many or how few Facebook friends you have.
Prioritize Your Social Media Activity
For businesses, this new feature on Facebook adds to the social media sites they may need to be involved with. Depending on what your business hopes to accomplish online, you may need to actively post on Facebook, tweet from Twitter, monitor reviews at Yelp, and update LinkedIn. Some companies may need to hire a social media strategist to handle all these responsibilities. The irony, of course, is that many businesses block access to Facebook to keep employees focused on work when they're at the office. Now, keeping Facebook and other social sites properly monitored and updated is not only legitimate work, it's necessary work.