Yellow Pages Group Co. is now offering a Facebook page creation service to its small business clients and will soon be offering them help in monitoring and engaging with their customers who interact with that page, according to a company director.

It used to be the Yellow Pages tome delivered to every doorstep in the neighbourhood was the ultimate business listing directory and visibility in its printed volume equated to the ability to reach local customers. Times have changed.

Now consumers are more likely to turn to online search or even social media channels to find out information about even local businesses. Phone books and printed listing directories sit unused and collecting dust as tablets and smartphones push us all the details we could need about nearby businesses. Montreal-based Yellow Pages Group Co. has caught on to that fact in recent years and been adapting its own business model to stay relevant in the digital age. It now offers services to help get businesses found online and via mobile apps. For example its Yellow Pages 360 solution offers a listing on the YellowPages.ca directory that can include a video, a link to your Web site, along with search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) services.

New to that solution today is a Facebook page. Yellow Pages will now use the information it has on its virtual business listings to create a Facebook page that contains location, contact information, website, and images to automatically create and update a Facebook page for its clients. The service will be added to Yellow Pages’ “Virtual Business Profile” advertising product.

Bot existing and new clients will receive the new service, according to Adam Di Stefano, director, online presence & content for Yellow Pages Group. Content already used in the virtual directory profiles will automatically be used to fill out the Facebook page, and a fulfilment team will moderate the process. When a business updates their profile on the Yellow Pages account, its Facebook page will also be updated. But Yellow Pages won’t be doing engagement and monitoring of the pages.

Clients “remain responsible for posts on their Timeline and retain the ability to engage with their customers through dialogue,” he writes in an e-mail response. “We are currently developing a fully managed Facebook service which will enhance the existing offer of maintaining basic and enhanced content.”

Yellow Pages has been transitioning to a digital service for a decade or more. It started by making an agreement with Google to allow its listings to be used for local search results in 2004, and those listings made their way to Google Maps in 2006. In 2009, it opened up its listings database with YellowAPI.com so mobile application developers could code their own apps using the directory. In 2011, Yellow Pages launched its 360 offering that includes a three-page website being developed and hosted, with 24/7 technical support.

The fully managed Facebook service will be rolled out across Canada next year.

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