1.6 billion. That’s the number of consumers around the world who follow or are connected to a small business on Facebook. Are you one of those businesses?

If so, you probably notice every time they make a change to their Business Page settings. Sometimes painful, and sometimes helpful, Facebook’s latest Business Page updates are meant to help consumers find the most credible businesses and interact with them more easily.

One of the most commonly updated features is Facebook Recommendations. Formerly Reviews, Facebook has made it easier and easier for users to share and request recommendations to local businesses with their friends and connections.

Not convinced? According to Facebook,

  • 2 in 3 Facebook users visit a local business’s page at least weekly
  • 1 in 3 Facebookers use the platform to ask for reviews and recommendations

What’s the difference between Facebook reviews and recommendations?

Facebook even offered pop-up screens to educate consumers on the change. But we don’t want you left in the dark! Here’s exactly what they served up to users on the difference between Facebook ratings and recommendations.

How to Use Facebook Recommendations

Mock FB Screen 1

How to Write a Recommendation on Facebook

Facebook Mock Page 2

How to Share Recommendation Details and Highlights

Facebook Mock Page 3

That last screen is somewhat new. Facebook calls these user-generated review “highlights” Rich Endorsements.

What are Rich Endorsements?

Rich Endorsement Screen GrabThe Rich Endorsements feature uses Facebook’s artificial intelligence (and super-secret algorithms) to ask consumers questions based on the type of business they’re viewing and other user input. Users are prompted to answer questions with prepopulated tags and to add their own feedback via an open text field.

But Rich Endorsements aren’t the only noteworthy change to Facebook’s review and recommendations feature. Facebook is also asking users to upload photos and pictures that represent their experience with local businesses.

Facebook Becomes More Visual

Look at Instagram, the Facebook-owned, picture and video-centric social medium.

  • 1 billion people use Instagram every month.
  • 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.
  • ⅓ of the most-viewed Instagram stories are from businesses.

If Instagram’s any indication, visual content works. And as Instagram’s popularity increases among social media enthusiasts, other social media platforms (like Facebook) are following suit.

That, and the rise of mobile, are two clear reasons Facebook’s added photos to its recommendations feature.

What about my stars?

Here’s what you really care about. What happened to my star rating? Where did my Facebook rating go? How is my Facebook rating calculated now?

They’re fair questions. If Facebook is no longer explicitly asking users for rankings out of 5, how on Earth are they deciding what rating to display on your Business Page? Because believe it or not, they’re still going to give your business a rating out of 5…n if they’re no longer asking consumers for it.

According to Facebook, they’re taking into account past reviews and ratings as well as the volume and quality of new recommendations and reviews you generate.

Seem clear as mud? It is. But here’s the point. If you want to keep your coveted 5 stars, do what you’ve always done.