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You have to give Facebook credit – whenever the company launches a new product, it fully expects that new product to dominate the market. When it doesn’t, then Facebook steps right back into the game with new improvements to ensure that it does. And that’s exactly what happened with the company’s Events app. It’s been re-branded as Facebook Local a few months back, and it looks like this new-and-improved app could be a game-changer for local events.
Facebook Local vs. Yelp
The basic goal of Facebook Local is to become to default app that you use anytime you are looking to go out. If you are looking to meet up with friends at the local bar, you will use Facebook Local. If you are looking to have brunch with your in-laws during the holidays, you will use Facebook Local. If you are debating where to buy your next cappuccino, you will use Facebook Local. Get the idea? This could be big!
To make this vision a reality, Facebook is drawing on a number of different resources – the data from Facebook’s 90 million business pages, the reviews posted of these businesses (and any other user-generated content, such as photos and videos), and information about where your friends are checking in that has already been gleaned from your social graph.
So, just as you might use Yelp to get some ideas about where to have dinner, you could use Facebook Local in the same way. And, in this case, you’d be basing your decision mostly on what your friends think about various restaurants. Would you rather go to a restaurant that none of your friends have “liked” – or a restaurant that has been “liked” hundreds of times?
Facebook Local vs. Meetup
Some have also suggested that Facebook Local could take over from Meetup. That’s because Facebook Local is essentially a one-stop destination for coordinating events. You can see who’s going to certain events, as well as which events are trending. Best of all, Facebook is working to integrate data from the main Facebook app with the Local app so that planning where to go on any night of the week is a very seamless experience. So why even use Meetup when you could use Facebook Local?
Facebook Local vs. Foursquare
In many ways, Facebook Local is a beefed-up, more relevant version of Foursquare. Anytime you open up the app, you can see where your friends have been, and which places are trending. Even better, the “Nearby Friends” feature (similar to Snapchat’s SnapMap) means that you can see where people are in real-time, making it very easy to “crash” a party where your friends are (or, presumably, to avoid an awkward face-to-face encounter with an “ex”).
The big takeaway lesson for Main Street businesses
The lesson for Main Street USA businesses is clear – you simply have to get your business Facebook page in order. Now is no time to skimp on making sure that it’s as robust as possible. If Facebook Local is the new Yelp or the new Meetup, then you will inevitably be judged by what people are saying about you on Facebook.