Changes to Facebook Places add reviews and functionality

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Reviews of businesses are now built into Facebook Place Pages. Image: Flickr / rvoegtli / CC-BY-SA

Managing online business identity is often a challenge. New features added to Facebook Places will help businesses, especially large-scale corporations, manage their Facebook identities. The new features will also add Yelp-style reviews to Facebook Places.

Technical changes

The update to Facebook Places includes a few technical changes to the functionality of the site. First, a parent-child structure has been built into the site. This means corporate pages can claim the place pages of individual locations and manage them as a group or separately. This will also load locations as a tab, allowing users to locate the business location nearest to them. Facebook Pages are also opened up to API development, giving developers more control.

What technical changes mean

These Places changes will have several effects on the day-to-day functionality of Facebook Places. First, businesses with multiple locations will be able to administrate each location page as a group or independently. Second, the review functionality will add Yelp!-style reviews to Place pages. Rather than simple posts on the wall, the reviews will post to fans’ walls with a logo and full text. The API changes mean developers will be able to build Place and Page management into third-party tools.

How to make the best use of the changes

For small businesses, these changes are not anything new, but they are useful. Facebook reviews reinforce branding, and they offer social recommendations that more than 60 percent of customers ages 18-30 say they rely on more than anything else in making buying decisions. Facebook will also display these recommendations in the sidebar of each page. So encourage your fans to post reviews, and make sure that you have claimed your Facebook Places page if your business has a physical location.

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