On October 6th, Facebook began introducing new verified badges for local businesses. For many of the 45 million small business owners on Facebook, authenticating their account has been something that many have called for, for sometime. In a situation where anyone from staff with the best of intentions to members of an adoring public are able to speak on behalf of your brand, it is clear that problems can arise. It is important for Facebook to have recognised this as a problem and shows a clear evolution in the crucial role that social media plays in businesses of all sizes. It signifies further focus on SME's, which account for the majority of ad spend on Facebook.
At the moment, this feature is only available to small businesses with a single location in the UK, Canada, US, Australia and New Zealand. It will be interesting to watch how this evolves over time as Facebook rolls this feature out to new markets and ultimately makes it accessible for all businesses.
There are two ways to get started. Just visit your page’s administration settings and use the businesses’ listed telephone number. If this seems a little too easy you can also upload an official document with proof of business address but keep in mind that this will likely take Facebook several days to verify it.
Most importantly, this new feature is a fantastic change for business and consumer alike. Small brands now have the power to ensure their image is protected and reflects an authentic voice. This will be an unmissable opportunity for brands to communicate more effectively with their customer base by ensuring that people know to follow a verified page for security and quality - consumers will be looking for this verification tick pretty soon.
Brands will also have more control when building a fan base by doing away with duplicate pages. All the ‘likes’ this way please! For consumers, it is a major win as well. With all of the junk that comes and goes on social media, consumers are better positioned to make an informed choice when they understand who to follow and the confidence to buy if they are dealing with the real McCoy.