Without a doubt, my favourite social media topic - how Facebook can dominate the world of things to do.
It was in late 2012, when I first wrote about how Facebook Graph Search can enhance the independent restaurant scene, with the “restaurants near me” feature and that the chain restaurants should take note and adapt to a hyper-localised strategy quickly. Well, I was wrong, the feature was dropped in 2014, and much of the “Facebook timeline” was adapted as users found Facebook Graph search more annoying than helpful due to the searches being too open.
Facebook Local is a new smartphone app that is a relaunch and reboot of the Facebook Events app. The new app is essentially a combination of three apps: Yelp, Tripadvisor and FourSquare, maybe you can compare more locally to Skiddle too? So, you can search information about your friends' check-ins, events near you, and pull up reviews of local businesses, like bars and restaurants — all from one app - bloody genius if you ask me!
So, the big question, can Facebook take over the local food & drink scene this time?
For 2 simple reasons, Facebook dominates the data market and what's the main reason why we don’t all leave TripAdvisor reviews? Because a mass majority of the UK population are not active Tripadvisor reviewers.
But wait, there’s more...
I actually find this the most current and useful way to discover what’s going on near me, it’s more local and relevant than any other event site, whether it Skiddle, SEE Tickets, Eventbrite or however you find your activity, there’s always a Facebook event listing to cover this. In Manchester, where Forever Digital’s HQ is, there are 100s of events within a 1-mile radius for today, all pulled from Facebook data, prior to the launch of the app.
Our top advice for bars, leisure venues and restaurants is to start your marketing preparations now, not tomorrow.
Some insight into our thinking as an agency is
- Push facebook reviews internally through point of sale, email marketing, competitions or even staff incentives. Tripadvisor actually hates this, while Facebook will embrace businesses pushing for reviews.
- Run paid ads for your events and delve into to the promotions through the app
- If you have a Facebook Account Manager, it’s worth scheduling a call with them
- Prompt all staff members about Facebook Local.
- Invest more budget into Facebook now, rather than later - we often find ways around getting excellent ROI for our clients in the early days for Facebook launches.
In summary, Facebook has failed at this once, but with technology so far advanced this time, it’s hard to see how Facebook Local will fail. We'll certainly be shaping our client's strategy around in the early stages
If you have an opinion or you wish to speak to us you can get in contact with us here