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Facebook Is Now a Calling Service

Most of us have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. On the one hand it’s an easy way to stay in touch with friends, everyone you know is on it, and it offers a fun way to kill a few spare minutes at work. On the other hand it’s a time suck and best known for its extremely questionable use of personal data. But that data also allows it to expand into surprising new fields—and the latest is to offer a calling service.

That comes in the form of Hello, Facebook’s new app. The app is designed to show you who’s calling before you pick up, among other things. That’s nothing new in terms of functionality, but with Facebook’s massive database behind it, it could be quite potent.

How It Works

Hello essentially acts as an intermediary between you and your phone calls. When someone calls you, Hello takes over and shows you their name and profile picture. That way you know who it is even if you don’t have them as a contact on your phone.

This feature has some limits:

  • Facebook will only use information that’s already been shared with you. If the caller isn’t a Facebook friend, you’ll still be blind to their identity.
  • This is not a phone-calls-over-wifi app like Whatsapp. You still get charged your regular rates or minutes for making/receiving calls on your mobile. Hello just adds caller ID functionality and a few other bells and whistles.

Still, Hello does offer some benefits: it greatly expands the pool of people who you can ID before you pick up, and unlike Whatsapp the other party doesn’t need to have it installed. As long as they’re on Facebook, they’re already on Hello.

Business Uses

Hello could also change how people contact businesses. Besides the caller ID function, it also acts as a local business lookup. Users can search for a business by name or category, and if it’s listed on Facebook they can call it with a single tap. Potentially, that means more of your customers will get your phone number from your Facebook profile, and less from your actual website.

(Although according Search Engine Land the category search doesn’t work well. I’d expect most users to stick with Yelp or Google.)

The takeaway? Now is a good time to make sure your phone number is correctly listed on your Facebook page. You may also want to get that page looking good with some new pictures and strong copy, so that you stand out in the Hello search results.

If you need help getting your Facebook in top shape—along with your SEO—contact us for a free consultation.