Facebook is now a player in the local search market but only on mobile devices. The ‘nearby’ function is receiving an update, which is changing from a tool to see where a user’s friends have checked in to a tool that promotes discovery. Based upon criteria that Facebook is holding close to the vest it will now show nearby businesses and other places that have been entered into its database.
Users will be able to search and browse nearby locations. The criterion for ranking is a factor of star ratings, check-ins, Likes and recommendations. The rankings are allowed only by people who have checked-in to the location.
For the education marketing company this is good news. It offers a new channel for discovery and a valuable tool at that. One thing that must now be done, however, is that brands must have a Facebook Page. Only locations that have a Page will be shown in this new feature, because the discovery tool allows a link back into the location’s Page.