The social scene: Is Facebook the new yellow pages?

Facebook is testing a new feature under the unassuming name of Professional Services. It’s essentially a business directory, with data pulled from Facebook business pages and results ranked by star ratings and user reviews.

Professional Services hasn’t officially launched yet, but the service is now available to Kiwis accessing Facebook on desktop browsers. US commentators have speculated that Professional Services could end up giving location-based apps such as Yelp and Foursquare a run for their money once it’s rolled out across the Facebook platform – especially if it gains popularity among Facebook’s massive mobile userbase. Here in New Zealand, Professional Services could rival the likes of Zomato, Localist and Yellow.

It’s a timely reminder to business owners that ratings and reviews on social media have the ability to secure potential customers or drive them away. Many businesses (especially those outside of the hospitality and tourism industries) have dismissed the review feature on Facebook as being irrelevant and unnecessary. But with over 2 million Kiwis accessing Facebook every day, Professional Services is a potential game changer for all sectors.