Looking for a good plumber or a highly recommended wedding photographer? You will soon be able to find local service providers on Facebook.
The social networking giant has quietly launched a new feature called Facebook Professional Services that directs you to the best rated and reviewed service providers in your area.
The desktop-only feature was first spotted by India-based IT firm Acodez.
First Impressions of Facebook Professional Services
A quick look at the Professional Services feature shows there are over 80 business types — ranging from dating services and women’s health to financial planning and home decor — linked in the directory.
And finding a list of local service providers is easy.
You just need to go to the page where you will find your current location pre-selected. You can search for the service you are looking for by simply typing into a dialog box. Once you hit the “Search” button, you will be directed to a page with recommendations.
Search results are displayed along with Facebook’s five-star rating system and user reviews. The results page also displays businesses’ contact information, business hours and a map for directions.
Taking on Yelp and Angie’s List
Judging by the extensive range of business categories included in the Professional Services feature, it’s obvious that Facebook is challenging both Angie’s List and Yelp. And this is not the first time it’s doing so. Earlier this year, the social networking company launched Place Tips to give some new competition to Yelp.
More recently, Facebook introduced some new tools to help businesses manage communication on their pages. With over 50 million active Business Pages, Facebook seems serious about wooing businesses with new features, tools and add-ons.
Competition Closes In
Facebook isn’t alone in challenging Angie’s List and Yelp on their core services — namely providing information and feedback on local businesses. Amazon and Google have made similar forays into the market recently.
In March, Amazon announced Home Services, a feature allowing local businesses in certain areas to offers their services via the eCommerce site. Google soon followed with its Home Service Ads letting users enter their Zip code to find local service providers.
The service offers small businesses yet another way to promote services locally. But it also reinforces the importance of getting good feedback from your customers via social media.