Facebook Draws Businesses With New Pages Sections

Continuing to court small businesses, Facebook is adding new Page sections, including one that will help service providers show off a list of their offerings.

“The services section on Pages … allows service businesses, such as plumbers and spas, to showcase a list of their offerings on their Page,” a Facebook spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

“It makes it easier for people to find the information they are looking for and decide whether to work with the business,” she added.

The new section is now available to all professional services’ Pages, and should be available to all Pages in the coming weeks.

Facebook is also rolling out a new shop section, which provides businesses with another way to display products they are selling on their Page, and allows consumers to more easily discover, browse and make offers to purchase products through messaging.

The shop section feature is currently available to all Pages in Southeast Asia and other high growth and emerging markets, and should expand to other markets shortly.

In recent months, Facebook has made clear its ambitions as a business directory.

Positioning itself directly against Yelp, Angie’s List, and similar services, the social giant recently launched a site that endeavors to connect consumers with “local businesses and organizations with the best Facebook reviews and ratings.”

Dubbed Services, the site is actually an extension of Facebook’s flagship property, featuring a slew or professional services from plumbers to automotive to childcare.

Service suggestions are geo-targeted to users’ locations, and feature customer reviews, a star-based rating system, and general business information.

Late last year, Facebook quietly relaunched its Places Directory, which is essentially a local search engine. Users can use the directory find a “place” by location or another place name.

More recently, Facebook expanded its Notification system to include recommendations for nearby places to eat, movies playing in your area and local events.

Facebook also added new ways for customers to send private messages to Page owners, along with new tools for Page administrators to manage and respond to messages. With a new “Send Message” call-to-action button, for example, users can initiate private conversations with business Pages from News Feed ads.

Facebook also recently announced plans to position Messenger at the center of business-to-consumer communication.

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