Facebook Getting In On Small Business Ratings Game

In recent years, many small business owners may have fallen into obsessively checking their ratings on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor, but now they'll have to add the world's largest social network to the list of sites where they have to keep tabs on how consumers are rating them.

Facebook recently started allowing consumers to rate small businesses right on their owner-operated profile pages, using a five-star system, according to a report from Business 2 Community. This attempt to compete with Yelp may dramatically change the ways in which small businesses must keep close tabs on consumers' dealings with them online. Now, when a customer or client rates a company, that review will show up in their timeline so that their friends can see the activity.

"We're extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop – to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them," Facebook said in announcing the change, according to the site. "This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn't know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness."

Interestingly, nearly three out of four small business owners and customers alike recently stated that they were in some way unsatisfied with their experience on Facebook (compared with 81 percent on Twitter), while 91 percent said that they preferred to deal with these companies on the telephone, the report said. This information, too, may present new ways for small business owners to begin examining the ways in which they interact with customers and clients going forward, both in the real world and online, as a means of creating more meaningful connections with those who patronize a business.

Owners hoping to improve their companies and the ways people feel about them may also want to take the time to make sure their financial situations are as solid as they possibly can be. For instance, by finding more affordable small business insurance options, companies may be able to save as much as thousands of dollars per year, which they would then be able to devote to other areas of need. Shopping around for coverage including general liability insurance may be a great way for independent companies to ensure their future success.