You may have heard about Facebook’s new app called “Hello.” It’s a phone app that’s only available for Android users. It’s goal? To make your phone be great at being a phone again.
The app is essentially Caller ID on steroids, using the power of Facebook’s social graph. Receive a call from a number you don’t recognize? Facebook will scan its graph and find out if it’s a person, a business or how many times people have recently blocked that number. It also updates all your contacts with Facebook profile photos and allows for free VoIP calls. Users can also use Hello to search for numbers and information – like entering a query of “plumber” to turn up local plumbing companies and contact data. (Let the Facebook vs. Google war commence further, no?)
Hello has been around for a few weeks now, and we’ve noticed a few things that would affect small businesses and small business owners, in particular.
Let’s go back to that last feature I mentioned. A small business now, more than ever, needs to make sure its contact information in the Facebook About section is current and correct. That’s the information Hello will pull in for people to call. Bad phone numbers (or no phone numbers) are killers.
We also had a client whose personal cell number is now showing up when people search for his company page through Hello because of the association between the two. That’s good for business owners who don’t mind customers contacting them. If you’re not in that camp, there’s a simple fix. Just go to your personal Facebook profile, go to Settings and click Privacy. You’ll get a screen similar to this:
From there, change the “Who can look you up using the phone number you provided?” setting from Everyone to Friends.
My own personal opinion? Facebook’s making a hard charge at Android here. I have several friends who are die-hard Android lovers, but they’re all in agreement that Android’s contact system is a mess. If Facebook can fix that problem with Hello, it’s just one more notch in its belt.