Over the last 5 months or so Facebook has set its sights on becoming more like us, more vocal about local!
It’s no secret that we have been big believers in everything local ever since we started off our very first local Small Business Network Facebook page in Flintshire, North Wales some time ago. From supporting and promoting small businesses to sharing events and job listings, it’s all been done on a local level, raising awareness in the local community.
Since then we’ve added many more local Small Business Network Facebook pages, and now we have the whole of Wales covered. We’ve started branching out into England and Scotland too, with plans to extend into Northern Ireland later this year. So what you’ll read in this post, just emphasizes to us how important local is to Facebook and their community too.
Facebook Local App
In November of last year, they rebranded their “Facebook Events” app and renamed it “Facebook Local”, it’s described as an app that helps you discover places and things to do recommended by friends you know and trust. Keep up with what’s happening locally – wherever you are – whether you’re looking for something to do with friends this weekend or want to explore a new neighbourhood.
The Facebook Local app automatically synchronises with your Facebook profile and when you open up the app, it will show you a small selection of shortcut icons and what is recommended for you in your current location (if you have your location settings switched on), based on pages liked, reviewed and places checked-in by your friends. It also states the current date and weather in that location.
At the top of the homepage, you will find icon shortcuts to:
- Restaurants, Cafes, Bars, Attractions – all open up a map with pinned events around you. You can filter these options down further by open now or visited by friends.
- Nearby – opens up a map with pinned events around you. You can filter these options down further, by relevance, by date, by time and by category.
- Friends – opens up to a list of Top Suggestions, below that are suggested events by date.
- Following – opens up to a list of events by your friends and pages you’ve liked.
- More – opens up a list of app categories and interests such as Art, Theatre, Religion, Gardening and many more.
Below the icon shortcuts you will see 3 tabs named:
- FOR YOU – opens up to a list of events on
- EVENTS – opens up to a “make a plan” page where you can select a day within the next 8 days to see what events are on around you for that particular day. If you scroll down further you’ll see a selection of some of the events on around you during the next 8 days, and if you scroll down even further you will find events on from the following week and from later on in the month.
- GUIDES – opens up to a “Explore your interests” page that you can choose from a selection of interests, such as Arts & Culture, Causes and Fundraisers, Film and many more.
Right at the bottom of the page, you have a footer with 3 icons:
- Homepage – opens the homepage.
- Discover – opens up a map with pinned events around you. You can filter these options down further, by relevance, by date, by time and by category.
- Calendar – opens up to a calendar of events that you have expressed that you are interested in, or going.
Facebook local news
Then in January of this year, Facebook announced a change in the US to prioritize local news so people can see topics that have a direct impact on their community and discover what’s happening in their local area.
Last week they announced that they are expanding that update to people in all countries, in all languages.
“Now, people around the world will see more news on Facebook from local sources covering their current city and other cities they may care about.With this update, we’re helping local publishers who cover multiple, nearby cities reach audiences in those cities. We’ll consider a publisher as local to multiple cities if the people in those cities are more likely than the people outside of those cities to read articles from the publisher’s domain. By expanding the scope of what may be considered local to people, we’re including other cities that people may care about and connecting people to local publishers from those cities“.
We have already seen an improvement in the newsfeeds of our local small business network community pages, by seeing more updates from the pages that we have liked and we believe this is down to the recent update. This will be a huge boost to local small businesses, event creators, planners and co-ordinators who rely on support from their local communities to survive.