If you had any doubts as to whether Facebook has a place in your review strategy, news this past week from Bill Bean that Facebook reviews were now showing in the Google “Reviews from Around the Web” should put them to rest.
I was curious how widespread this was and whether it was just a one off or if Google had started including links to Facebook reviews on a widespread basis. A number of folks noted to me that they had seen Facebook.com links on their reviews from around the web .
This search at Google (site:plus.google.com “verified local business” AND “facebook.com” AND “Reviews From Around the Web”) indicates that Google has indexed a large number of Facebook review pages and is including them on the business’ G+ Page for Local.
Facebook has snuck up on us in the local review space over the past 12 months to become a significant player. Facebook rolled out reviews across all of their business pages last November but earlier this year limited reviews to just pages that were for local businesses.
My research clearly indicates that Facebook has become a strong contender as a favorite amongst users as a place to leave local reviews. In fact consumers expressed as much (or more) likelihood of using Facebook than Yelp for leaving reviews. And this was particularly true amongst women with almost 1/3 of them indicating that Facebook was their preferred review site.
Bing and Yahoo have left the review creation space, relying on Yelp for their reviews. With the decline of CitySearch, InsiderPages and other local sites as places to leave reviews, Facebook provides a refreshing and relatively easy to use alternative to Yelp and Google for your customers.
Your customers all have Facebook logins which makes it much easier than getting a G+ review and at this point there seem to be no filters to speak of, eliminating the frustration with Yelp.
In line with my sense that Facebook should be part and parcel of most SMB review plans, at GetFivesStars.com (where I am a principal) we not only added Facebook as a review site but we created a Facebook app that monitors Facebook reviews as well.
My research to date with GetFiveStars would indicate that offering several choices of review sites with Facebook being one of them, even to gmail users, increases the likelihood of them leaving a review (more on that later) at both Google and elsewhere. If you are doing review management and not including Facebook you should revisit your plan.Facebook Reviews Should Be a Part of Every SMB Review Plan by Mike Blumenthal