Customer Reviews: Is Facebook the New Foursquare or Yelp?
In a matter of weeks, Facebook became much more than a place where old high school friends kept in touch, talking about things they "like" with one another. The introduction of Facebook's Community Pages combined with the social media site's launch earlier this year of Places, a location-based service, has put the relevancy and longevity of other outlets like Foursquare and Gowalla into question seemingly overnight.
Moreover, Facebook's current testing of ratings and reviews functionality in its ads changes the playing field for the likes of Yelp and other similar sites. In short, Facebook has become a bona fide, real-time, lead generation and customer feedback tool for companies around the world — and those right here in its own backyard.
Organizations savvy and flexible enough to capitalize on this trend have much to gain in terms of increased brand equity, lead generation and customer loyalty, but only if they take certain steps to ensure that it happens. Here are some examples:
Posting boring pictures or "hey guys" status updates won't cut it anymore. Simply blasting out the latest company updates won't increase followers or drive community engagement. While this may not be a new revelation, organizations now need to take it a step further by crafting their Facebook status updates and page content in such a way as to invite conversation among various target groups.
A trendy retail clothing chain, for example, can offer its fans a 5 percent discount if they provide reviews and feedback for a particular outlet in downtown Denver. Such promotions can be not only fruitful in terms of revenue, but also packed with real-time trend data that companies can use for similar initiatives in other markets.
Pay closer attention to feedback. Facebook's upcoming ratings and reviews feature will become a staple on the social media site in short order. Using the Denver clothing outlet as an example, people can now tell their friends to what degree they "like" the store, going so far as to qualify that on a rating scale and comment section. The expanded physical dimensions of Facebook's newest tentacles will create powerful waves online — shifting the focus from attitude to action.