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New: Facebook Is Rolling Out Verified Badges For Local Business Pages
Business Pages with physical addresses can display a verified check mark. Feature is being rolled out today in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, with other markets to follow.
Have a local business Page on Facebook? Soon you’ll be able to give your Page an official stamp of authenticity.
Facebook today started rolling out verified badges for local businesses. The badges come in the form of gray check marks — to differentiate them from the blue checks displayed on verified Pages for celebrities, public figures, sports teams and other media and entertainment organizations — and are available for businesses with a physical location in the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
The new badges will display in Facebook search results and Pages in the familiar way:
The badges will help people “find the right and authentic accounts” for local merchants, Kirsten Bury, a Facebook product marketing manager for Pages, told Marketing Land. Verified Pages will also show up higher in search results.
“At scale there will inevitably be duplicates and multiple entries for the same business,” said Bury, noting that there are 45 million business Pages on Facebook. “So this is one way businesses can make it easier for people to make sure that they are finding and communicating with the right Page.”
The feature is accessed within a Page’s admin settings in markets where it is available. Business owners can verify their Pages immediately using their business’ publicly listed phone number. They can also verify by uploading an official document like a phone bill, a process that Facebook says will take several days to complete. Facebook has updated its help page about verification with more details about the badges. In the coming weeks, Facebook plans to introduce the feature in other markets and eventually give access to all Facebook business Pages, but for now it’s limited to businesses that display their outlet’s physical location on Facebook.
By itself, this new feature doesn’t seem that significant, but it’s part of Facebook efforts to signal its support for small businesses and make the case that the social network can be a primary part of a company’s digital presence. Facebook says more than 1 billion people visit Pages every month, and many of those visits are by people looking up businesses on mobile devices.
Last month, Facebook announced it was updating Pages with mobile in mind, optimizing display to make it easier for people on phones and tablets to navigate through Page content. It also boosted the prominence of call to action buttons like Contact Us, Send Message or Call Now and created new Shop and Service sections that allow businesses to display their wares. And in the case of the Shop sections, gave merchants the option to sell directly on Facebook using a Buy button. Facebook also has been enhancing the tools for customer-to-merchant communication on Facebook using its Messenger app.
Facebook’s current SMB strategy can be seen in part as an attempt to soothe business owners who remain upset about the crash of organic reach because reaching Facebook users via the News Feed is much more difficult than it was when the social network was younger and smaller. For years after the launch of Pages in 2007, Facebook representatives recommended that businesses marketing on Facebook build their Page fan bases to take advantage of the free access to people’s News Feed, but with growth in users and businesses causing competition for that space, a rugby scrum of content eventually crowded out many marketing messages.
And as Facebook’s advertising products matured, the company started counseling that the best way to market on Facebook was to buy targeted ads, advice that struck some as a bait and switch. In retrospect, Facebook’s ad chief, Andrew Bosworth, acknowledged that Facebook’s early messaging to marketers may have been confusing.
“I wish we could go back years and change the pitch we brought to advertisers,” Bosworth said last month at TechCrunch Disrupt. “We really didn’t anticipate the speed of our own growth and the competition it would put in the News Feed.”
Now Facebook’s thrust is if you want to buy ads, ours are very effective, but our free tools are also great, and we are committed to making them better.
“This isn’t the biggest product that we will launch in the next year,” Bury said, “but it’s definitely a sign of our investment in making it easy for people and businesses to connect on Facebook and on Pages.”