Facebooks revised mission has been to “bring the world closer together” with a strong focus on building communities. It would make sense then for the company to put a stronger emphasis on their Events app, which as of Friday, is rebranded into Facebook Local.
Facebook Local will attempt to consolidate all the information someone needs, before planning a night out. It will combine the traditional features from the events section in the main app, with local established restaurants and bars. All of it powered by Facebook data, including business information, reviews, and friends’ checkins.
Users of the standalone app will instantly be shown nearby restaurants, reviews, cafes, drinks, attractions, and more. Additionally, they’re given information on where their friends and people they follow go. There is a calendar feature, Trending Events feed, nightlife, other happenings, and just about anything that may strike your interest in the surrounding area.
The standalone Facebook Local app may prove to be a serious competitor to services like Yelp and Foursquare if it’s able to distinguish itself, although the community built around those apps, is strong. Look for Facebook Local to eventually bring its Order Food feature into the Local app.
If done right, Facebook Local may be the app that users turn to when they need to stay connected but have had enough with the constant barrage of Tasty videos and engagement photos.
Businesses are not currently able to advertise on the platform, but that’s in typical Facebook fashion. Build out the feature, gather a user base, and then add monetization options. Local business and brands putting on events could gain quite a bit from these options. The ability to reach only those in a certain area, with a message about an event, in the same place those people are planning their events, is something that businesses of all sizes will need to keep tabs on.
For now, it’s important to analyze the presence that your business or event has on the platform, and alter it to match your brand image. If you’re a bar or restaurant, make sure to update the page regularly with specials or live music options. As Facebook continues to follow through on their goal of building communities, it’s important that you’re as much of a part of your digital community, as you are the physical one.