Move over Facebook ratings, Facebook Recommendations are here to take your place.  Facebook's August 2018 announcement unveiled that the platform has updated the way consumers interact with local businesses on their platform, including replacing star ratings and reviews with Recommendations. In this post, we'll cover what the Facebook Recommendations update means for businesses and consumers alike, and how resellers can leverage this update for clients.

Ratings are now recommendations

Facebook Recommendation Updates

Want to write a recommendation?

Ratings are now Recommendations! Here's what you need to know about the change:

  • Recommendations will now be posted directly onto the business Pages (in place of review/star rating)

Facebook Recommendation

  • Legacy reviews are being changed to “Recommended” or “Not Recommended”
    • Legacy 1 and 2-star ratings are “Not Recommended”
    • Legacy 4 and 5-star ratings are “Recommended”
    • Legacy 3-star ratings show up as “Reviewed”
    • Legacy star ratings no longer appear in star format, but under “opinion” score

Facebook Recommendation Score

  • Updated to 25 minimum character count to promote leaving more detailed recommendations/reviews

Facebook Recommendation Example

  • Newsfeed Recommendations posted by your network will influence Recommendations to the business page
  • Recommendations can have a suite of tags and rich media (photos) attached to them

It's obvious from these updates that Facebook is making an effort to give consumers (and businesses) richer, more valuable recommendations on which to base their purchase decisions. More weight will be added to each recommendation with a minimum character count and rich media additions such as tags and photos.

What the Facebook Recommendation Updates Mean for Businesses

1. Businesses cultivate a consistent story about their brand

Facebook Recommendations will now help build up a consumer-generated brand story for businesses right on their Page. New detailed Recommendations of the business will give a better insight into what you can expect from that business based on other consumers' experiences.  Before Recommendations, consumers would talk about a business in private channels or status updates. A friend on Facebook would ask “Where’s a good place to get my windshield replaced?” and their network would reply with various businesses they recommended. In October of 2016, Facebook added the first slice of Recommendations and users started to see them appear in their news feed when friends/family were looking for suggestions for local products/services.

Facebook Recommendations on Mobile

People were starting to talk about the best businesses in their area, sharing their suggestions and recommending local businesses to their friends on Facebook. But these conversations weren’t tied to the business online reputation (star rating) directly, and now they are. As of August 2018, Facebook Recommendations have replaced star ratings and reviews, which adds consistency to the social media platform. Tying in the idea of Recommendations from a user’s news feed to the same messaging on business pages allows for a consistent message to describe user feedback of a business on Facebook.

People already use Recommendations to ask their communities where to go, what to eat, or where to shop. We’re making those Recommendations more prominent on [business] pages.

Facebook

2018 Recommendations Update

When a friend is looking for recommendations and you name drop a local business, your recommendation will be pulled to the company page. The conversations that consumers are having online will have an effect on the businesses that are mentioned.

2. Improved reporting of spam & fraudulent Recommendations

Facebook is prioritizing the need to get rid of spam reviews and make it easier for businesses to report fraudulent business feedback. In addition, the minimum character requirements allow for reviews to be more personalized and limit the amount of one-click-one-star spamming that was seen on Facebook in the past.

3. Emerging business themes from Recommendation tags 

New tagging functionality will help provide an overview of service performance to local businesses. Adding sentiment tags or related keyword tags to Recommendations will allow themes to emerge from customer feedback. This makes it easier for businesses to find out what they are known for and identify trends.  

What Facebook Recommendation Updates Mean for Consumers

1. Provide more specific and detailed recommendations to your network

Like a business? Do you recommend them? This is what you’ll see now.

McDonald's Facebook Recommendation Example

What do you recommend about the business? This is the prompt you see. The new update allows you to segment your recommendation for other consumers with a unique tagging feature. Noted above, you’ll have to leave a recommendation that is at least 25 characters. You can also add photos to your recommendations. With the change, Facebook is hoping to create an environment that makes feedback more useful for both consumers and for businesses.

2. Give context into how a poorly-performing business could improve

Don’t like a business? Do you not recommend them? This is what you’ll see now.

Facebook Recommendations for Improvement

How could this business improve? This is the prompt you see. The new update works to create a more useful feedback section for customers with negative experiences. Under the previous star rating system, a user could leave a 1-star review with little to no context at all for their bad experience. This hurts the business as they weren’t able to understand their shortcomings of service, but also hurt other consumers who may have wanted more context into such a low star rating. Ideally, this change benefits both the business and the consumer as the business has a better opportunity to become aware of consistencies in missed service. The tagging system allows people with similar experiences to identify failures in service that are consistent across numerous customer visits. Businesses can now see exactly what they are missing, evaluate current practice, and zero in on where they need to improve their service.

The New World of Digital Word-of-Mouth Marketing

Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the most powerful ways to market a business, and Facebook has become this type of marketing's new, trackable avenue. Businesses want people to talk about them with their friends, to share their good experiences, and to drive more traffic to their business. But they also want to track where their customers are coming from and who referred them to their business. In 2016, Facebook allowed people to ask their friends for Recommendations to find experiences from local consumers who have dealt with businesses in the area. Whether you’re asking your best friend for a good plumber over a beer, or getting that same answer over your Facebook news feed, it's still word-of-mouth marketing. Now, Facebook is tying everything together by telling a consistent story around Recommendations. With this update, Facebook has become the go-to destination for word-of-mouth marketing.

Tracking Recommendations with Reputation Management 

Reviews and Recommendations are different, so what happens to the software providers that deal with online reputation and review management? We adapt. At Vendasta, our Reputation Management tool works with online review websites to scrape information and provide businesses with updates, dashboards, and tools to manage their online reviews. More specifically, Facebook has become one of the most popular review websites within our platform over the last few years. This change is really quite significant for our business and other review software providers like us who are working to stay ahead of the changes.

Facebook Recommendation Tracking

Vendasta Partners will see these changes soon! Our team is working with Facebook to integrate these changes into our platform, you’ll see them in our product very soon! Facebook has given API access to us at Vendasta and our team is working hard to will deliver these changes in our platform as soon as Facebook finalizes the technical issues they have experienced in making this massive change. Expect this in the next few weeks! Want to start offering your clients a way to stay on top of Facebook recommendations, online reviews, and other online conversation? Start selling Reputation Management.