Facebook’s Locations framework (which knits together a brand’s local Facebook pages) is always evolving. The social network has made several more significant changes to the process in the past few months. Here are some things to know if you are currently managing or considering implementing the Locations network (formerly known as parent-child) for your franchise or multi-location brand.
All Pages Must Now Have the Same Name
Previously, Facebook allowed individual pages in your Locations network to have slight name variations, as long as each name started the same (i.e. – your main Facebook page could be called Store ABC, but your individual location pages could be named Store ABC New York, Store ABC #123, etc.). This is no longer the case. To ensure consistency and make it easier for customers to find the correct location when searching for your brand, Facebook now requires all of your pages to be named consistently. For example, if your parent page is named Store ABC, all of your child pages must be named exactly the same.
From a user perspective, people will now see the page name and a description of each page’s location in parentheses. If there is only one store in a city, it will show up as Store ABC (Toronto). If there is more than one location in that city, the street address will be in the parentheses instead: Store ABC (123 Main St, Toronto).
If you search Starbucks in your Facebook app, for example, you’ll see a list of all the Starbucks around you. The pages will all be named the same (Starbucks Canada), but next to the name in parentheses, you will see each location’s street address.
By showing either the city name or the street address next to the page name, Facebook is eliminating any confusion that may occur when admins name their Facebook pages based on things like store numbers or neighborhoods. A Facebook user may not know exactly where a search result for Starbucks East Village is, but they’ll know where Starbucks (665 Broadway, NY) is.
The parentheses descriptor is also visible next to the name when you visit each individual child page, but be aware that this is not officially part of your child page’s name. Note that this naming change does not impact the URL of the page in any way.
If you implemented the Locations framework prior to this change you will be “grandfathered”, meaning you do not need to change the page names of your existing pages to conform to this new standard. However, if you add new pages to your existing Locations framework, you will be required to renamed them using the new standard before they can be added.
No More Reviews on Your Corporate Facebook Page
In order to set up Locations, you must designate one of your pages as your main (or parent) Facebook page. Previously, this page was allowed to have a street address, and therefore user reviews and star ratings were visible. However, Facebook has recently made an update that requires admins to disable the street address on their main page before Locations can be enabled. Removing the street address means that all reviews on your main page will also be removed.
We believe Facebook has made this change because they want user reviews to focus on individual locations, rather than a corporate page. If a user reviewed a restaurant that is part of a chain, for instance, there is more value for the audience in having that review be about the specific restaurant that the user went to, rather than the overall brand, and therefore the review should live on that location’s Facebook page.
More Options for Who Can Access Your Locations Pages
Previously, when you set up Locations on Facebook, everyone who visited your main Facebook page could see it by clicking on the Locations tab, which displays a map marking all of your various stores. Facebook has recently provided admins with tools to provide additional control. Now, you have the option to only expose that to mobile users, or not at all:
Why Facebook is Making These Changes
As Facebook continues to increase its focus on local through features such as nearby, beacons, and place tips, local Facebook pages are becoming increasingly important. The social network is actively mapping connections between consumers and the businesses that they interact with, which necessitates a connection between the digital world and the physical one. To make this work, Facebook requires unique pages with physical addresses for people to check into, rate, like, and take photos/videos of.
By standardizing the naming convention across all store locations for a brand, Facebook is better able to surface search results for that brand (with the nearest locations) and create localized connections between people and that brand. This approach also has the added benefit of making it easier for customers to find local locations by providing specific addresses right in the page name.
As mobile Facebook use continues to grow in popularity and local search becomes increasingly important for businesses, having an individual Facebook presence for each of your brand’s locations is essential. Facebook continues to tweak its Locations framework to help its users find exactly the page they are looking for, and increase local page visibility. To learn more about Facebook Locations or for help implementing it, please contact us.