In what might be an effort to complete with Google+ Local and Yelp, Facebook is testing star ratings to business pages. If you’ve looked at your Facebook page over the last week, you may have noticed the star rating at the top of your timeline. What does your business’s star rating actually mean? We’re here to tell you:
With the new star ratings, people will be able to give your franchise a star rating on a scale of 1 to 5. Facebook is trying to add more depth to customers’ opinions about businesses and franchises; after all, a basic Like doesn’t offer much insight into customers’ impressions of your franchise. In fact, even users who actually dislike your franchise may actually click the Like button just because they want to see what you’re up to on Facebook.
Opportunities for Franchise Owners
Local marketing experts recognize the value of high ratings from customers, especially when they’re paired with glowing comments about your franchise’s service. Research shows that customers are much more likely to purchase a product or service if their online friends have recommended it, and online ratings can have the same effect on customers’ buying habits.
Concerns for Franchise Owners
Because the Facebook ratings in their current form are not attributed to an individual user, it’s possible that competitors might intentionally give competing franchises low ratings. In contrast, websites like Yelp automatically include people’s names with business ratings, which provides some accountability. However, it’s impossible for local internet marketing professionals to predict whether this feature will ultimately be a success, and before the new feature is launched, Facebook may decide to tie the star ratings to user profiles.
It is not clear whether the ratings will automatically be displayed, or if it will be possible for franchise owners to hide their star ratings. However, if Facebook is looking to use the new feature to make a major impact, it is likely that it will opt for making the ratings mandatory.
If the ratings are mandatory, franchise owners like you will have to devote more time and money to maintaining its Facebook presence and keeping your ratings high.
What to Expect from Facebook
While the star ratings are in the testing phase, some people may see some star ratings pop up on their Facebook pages. Because Facebook has already introduced star rating data for some time through its local search, the ratings you see on the test version may be relatively accurate.