Normally, when Facebook quietly makes changes to its platform, it’s a reason for business owners and privacy advocates to be worried. In a welcome change of pace, an undersung change at Facebook may have a lot of beneficial effects for local business owners. Facebook has updated their Facebook Places directory in a way that makes it infinitely more useful for local businesses and searchers.
Facebook first launched it’s Places Directory back in 2011, but the design was very unappealing and the service clearly paled in comparison to other services like FourSquare, Yelp, or similar Google services. This new redesign fixes that by making the new Facebook Places easy to use and easier on the eyes.
Unlike most changes to Facebook, the updates weren’t announced on the Facebook Business news or Facebook Blog. The changes were first brought to light by blogger Matteo Gamba.
“Without any official announcement and apparently going unnoticed,” wrote Gamba in the blog post that broke this story. “Facebook Places have recently undergone some deep visual polishing, including emotional cover images, discovery sections, city and category landing pages and a deep integration with the Location API, Graph Search queries and user generated contents.”
The redesign let’s users search for a city and then they are given local locations in six different categories. For each category (Restaurants, Hotels, Bars, Cafes, Public Attractions, Arts & Entertainment) have tiles based on information from popular Facebook Business pages. The tiles have additional information such as the number of likes, check-ins, and average review along the bottom of the tile in icon form. The categories are tabbed which makes it easier for users to switch between sections.
Each category also has dedicated section featuring popular spots as one large tile and four smaller ones. Each tile includes the best picture selected by the users, the place name and category, phone number, address and opening time, average price, number of reviews, average rating and friends’ comments.
There’s also a slider that features recent reviews for local locations, including the name and profile picture of the reviewer, the name and picture of the place, the review score and the comment. If the user has any friends who recently reviewed a location, that review is moved up. There are also links to Graph Search that Facebook users can use to do more local searches.
The new Facebook Places is big news for marketers as well as for Facebook’s competitors.The updates makes it important for local business owners to keep their listings on Facebook accurate. The businesses that are chosen are based on their The images that are shown are based on content from users so business owners should encourage their fans to take pictures and post them on Facebook. The same is true for reviews for Facebook.
This new update is part of a line of changes Facebook has made to make the platform form more useful to local businesses. Besides Facebook Places, local business owners can benefit from the new ad format Facebook that can be used to target people within a certain radius of a location.