Word of mouth has gone digital. Referrals and testimonials are driving factors for any growing tax and accounting practice. In this Quick Hits video, ClientWhys/CountingWorks PRO CEO, Lee Reams II goes over Facebook's newest changes as they migrate to a recommendation ecosystem. In the video below, we'll be addressing Facebook's latest changes and how they will affect tax and accounting firms based on whether they use Facebook for positive reviews. Lee will show different examples of the changes so tax and accounting professionals can understand what is going on. Facebook's first change is to switch from displaying review ratings (think of TaxBuzz or CountingWorks reviews) to recommendations. For example, do you recommend this firm? Yes or No? If yes, they will prompt you to leave more details. If no, they will ask, how can they improve. Past reviews will remain for now, but we're unsure for how long.
All new feedback will be through the recommendation tool. By removing the five-star scale, Facebook hopes people will write more extensive, authentic reviews. Users can also post a request for a recommendation directly on their feed. Essentially, there are two paths that people can take. Path A: A prospect asks for a recommendation on Facebook. A Facebook user will post to their news feed or story a question that includes language that Facebook picks up as a recommendation request. Facebook will then ask for more details on the location of the search.
Location and online presence are important. A strong presence on Facebook will help match your profile/company page to someone searching for a firm. Once someone makes a recommendation, the user will see a hot link with a page preview that will directly link them to your Facebook.
This example shows location and the company page preview. For all the social media doubters who think Facebook isn't important, you can see here that it's becoming apparent that word-of-mouth is moving online. Sites like Next Door are using the same type of technology. This is good for your practice because if someone recommends your company, they can quickly click and see your profile. They will automatically get a snap shot of your company page: do you post a lot, are there a lot of other recommendations, is there a lot of valuable content, is this a trustworthy practice, etc. This will impact who prospects choose to work with. Therefore, tax and accounting professionals without a Facebook will not have a preview or link. Path B: This path focusses on attracting recommendations to your Facebook page. Instead of leaving a review, visitors can start a recommendation, prompting Facebook users to ask questions about why they recommend the company. They jury is still out on what kind of data will be collected here. This can work for or against your practice. Visitors can leave positive recommendations on your page and add comments or photos. However, they can also post why they would NOT recommend you and provide reasons.
The quantity of recommendations may outweigh the quality of the review. Recommendations can be simpler, but are they better? It is easier to say yes or no about a recommendation; however, it takes away the star rating system. Reviews and testimonials matter. It is the modern word-of-mouth process. Even if a tax or accounting practice gets a traditional WOM referral, a prospect will immediately research you/your practice online. If they don't see a lot of five-star reviews and recommendations on Facebook, that might raise some red flags. Social media allows people to get the opinions of many versus one and allows transparency between business and consumers. According to a BrightLocal study, 92% of consumers now read online reviews versus the 88% in 2014 and 88% trust reviews as personal recommendations. Another factor to consider is how SEO will be impacted. How is Google going to handle Facebook eliminating traditional reviews? Currently, on a Google My Business search, the top reviews including those from Facebook. Now that those reviews will no longer be available, how will it impact your business? Will Google stop indexing these pages? This is when other verified reviews could carry more weight. Five-star reviews help drive conversion and new business.
With this being said, does your firm have a Facebook presence? Do you have a strategy in place to add recommendations to your profile? Tax and accounting pros with a lot of recommendations and frequent posts will gain more conversions. What does the future hold?Will recommendations be more beneficial for restaurants and vacation destinations than professional services? Recommendations can replace hours of research on search engines and the voice of many will do the selling for you. The bottom line is that people still want to work with people they can trust.
Want to see more videos like this? Subscribe to your YouTube channel.See the full Facebook Update Quick Hits video here. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about how to improve your Facebook and other social media presence, contact us today at 1-800-442-2477 or set up some time to speak with one of our digital marketing experts. We're here to help!