Word-of-mouth recommendations from people you know are the most trusted source of advertising. Everybody knows this, of course – you, yourself, know that you’re much more likely to act on a positive review or critique from a friend. But social media has expanded the reach of word-of-mouth, making it an advertising tool that can be utilized on a much wider scale. This has lead to the rise of influencer marketing – whereas once the reach of word-of-mouth was limited by your geographic radius or general sphere of awareness, social networks have made it possible for word-of-mouth recommendations to spread and reach a much wider audience.
In an effort to do so, and to boost user activity, Facebook has today released a new set of tools that not only make it easier to elicit recommendations from your connections, but also to act on those tips, with new options to buy, book and get quotes within a few taps.
Seeking Recommendations as explained by Facebook:
“Whether traveling to a new place, looking for a hair salon, or searching for the perfect place to eat, people already turn to their friends, family, and local Groups on Facebook for advice. We’re rolling out a new tool that makes it easier to get and organize all those recommendations in one place.”
That new tool is an option to put out a call for recommendations from your connections. When you’re writing a status update seeking advice, Facebook will detect your query via its machine learning systems and suggest that you turn on recommendations for your post. If you do, a prominent request for suggestions call-out will appear in the News Feeds of your connections notifying them that you’re looking for advice. As your connections provide tips and include references to relevant business Pages on Facebook, they’re plotted on a map, making it easier for you to see where each is relative to your location. You can also go to your Recommendations bookmark on Facebook to ask a new question or help your friends with their own queries.
The feature has been in test mode in recent weeks, with several users posting screenshots of the tool in action.The focus here is on highlighting local businesses – you can switch on the feature for any post in which you’re seeking recommendations, but the map feature only provides assistance when your query relates to geographic proximity.
The tool provides additional discovery potential for local businesses, though the businesses themselves will have no control over how they’re recommended or highlighted. Well, other than providing great service and making themselves worthy of recommendation. Of course, it could also lead to businesses working with well-connected local influencers to have them recommend their services in any related query, but given the tool is built to work within your established friend networks, it’ll likely be difficult to game – though it does underline why brands need to have a Facebook presence. You can’t get mapped by the tool without it.