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Facebook recently updated its ‘Nearby’ tool, which users can access through their mobile apps. The app now allows users to find nearby businesses based on information from their Facebook friends. This can be from recommendations or likes, ratings for businesses or check-ins.

People who are looking for a local business can use the Nearby tool to get suggestions for their search of specific businesses or general categories, such as gas stations, restaurants, or shopping. The more the user and his/her friends check in and rate businesses, the more personalized the recommendations will become.

For your business to take advantage of this tool, there are some things you need to do to be more visible to users:

Keep your page updated
After you have your business’ Facebook page set up, it is important to keep it updated with your current information. That includes your address, phone number, store hours and other details about your business in the ‘About’ section. This ensures potential customers to have all the information that they need about your business. If you have switched locations, the last thing you want is for people to go to your old location.

Keep your category updated
When users conduct a search based on category, you need to ensure your business will appear properly. If you own a coffee shop, you want it to show up when someone does a search for “Coffee” and not shopping. Make it easy for people to find you.

Open your page’s admin panel to edit your category. Click on ‘edit page’ and then ‘update info. Under ‘basic information’ you can select your business category.

Engage your customers
It is important to interact with your customers as much as possible on Facebook. The results of the ‘Nearby’ tool are based on customer ratings and feedback. When you encourage them to ‘check in,’ ‘like’ your page, ‘recommend’ and ‘rate’ your company on Facebook, you are increasing the likelihood new customers will give your business a try.

You can encourage Facebook engagement in person with the customers while they are in your store or restaurant. Add a message to the bottom of your receipt asking them to visit your page. Put a reminder to check in on your menu. Talk to your Facebook fans and ask them to rate your business.

More and more people are using social media and mobile devices to find new businesses to try in their area. Keeping your business’ information current and engaging your current customers can help increase the number of new customers.

Is your business getting the most from the ‘Nearby’ tool? What do you do to help bring in new local customers?

Dawn Pigoni of Be Social Worldwide is a certified social marketing specialist and a social media virtual assistant. Dawn offers superb social networking, social marketing and social bookmarking to WAHMs, small business owners, Internet marketers, affiliate marketers, and coaches who desire to bring stunning Internet presence through social networking to their businesses. Get Dawn’s free report, Social Networking today and see how she can assist you with being social worldwide.

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