Earlier today, TechCrunch reported that some users are seeing a brand new feature on Facebook company Pages: a five-star rating underneath the company's name. The ratings themselves aren't anything new -- they have been located at the top of brand Pages for a while now -- but the placement could be a game-changer. Here's what the new feature looks like:
Image courtesy of TechCrunch
Since this is still a test, not everyone can see this feature -- and there's nothing to stop Facebook from nixing it completely. And we're definitely not ones to rumor-chase ... but this small, potential addition to Facebook Pages could have a big impact on your Facebook strategy.
Confused as to how five tiny stars can have both positive and negative repercussions? Let me explain.
This Could Be Great Because ...
The stars are prominent. They're more prominent than lots of other elements on a brand Page -- including likes or the elusive "talking about this" metric. For pretty much all brands -- big and small -- this is a wonderful thing. Instead of competing with other companies for "likes," brands can focus on getting a few qualitative, positive reviews.
They can focus on the quality of their business instead of the quantity of their followers -- which is how brands should be thinking about Facebook, but some haven't because of how prominently the number of likes were displayed.
Less focus on fluffy vanity metrics and more on true audience engagement and happiness is a good thing. Brands can prove real business ROI, and fans can actually be delighted by the company and its content.
This Could Be Terrible Because ...
The stars are prominent. And who knows if they will only appear on your brand's Facebook Page? They could end up being pulled into the Like Box on your website or any other place where you're promoting your brand page through embedded content. If you have great reviews, all of those worries are positive, but let's face it -- not all companies are going to have only five stars.
That is, unless companies start forcing employees to leave fake reviews, which'll end up skewing the average rating. Bonus: It's incredibly unethical to force employees to leave positive reviews. Even if the reviews are voluntary, the reviewer should be disclosing he or she is an employee. And even then, it's still a tricky situation.
Right now, the most that companies really can do is force you to like their Facebook page -- which is definitely unethical, but not quite as egregious as leaving fake five-star reviews. "Liking" something just doesn't carry the same weight as a full-blown starred review -- one new like adds onto a never-ending pile of likes, whereas a review gets factored into an average.
And I'm not going to get into math here, but really low and really high reviews could skew the average review displayed at the top of your brand page -- which, regardless of whether the average is good or bad, is just plain inaccurate.
Besides the whole unethical employee reviews, you might get skewed results if your brand doesn't allow people to write on its Timeline. When people want to communicate with your brand on Facebook, they'll then have to comment on an individual post or better yet ... leave a review. And if they're trying to communicate with your brand about a customer satisfaction issue, chances are the reviews are going to be poor. Say bye-bye to your stars!
While your company should always be trying to delight customers -- and should definitely be alerted when customer satisfaction is poor -- a few bad support complaints could tank your Facebook Page efforts.
So all in all, this could be a great tool if people a) know how to use it properly, and b) actually use it properly. If everyone does those two things, this could be a much better "fluffy" metric for brands to strive for because a brand that's reviewed well is most likely doing most things in the most inbound way possible. And who wouldn't want that? ;)