You probably know by now that Facebook is no longer just a social networking site; in fact, it’s a much bigger online social media marketing platform for organizations and businesses than it ever was. Facebook is aware of that, and therefore keeps introducing new social media marketing tools and features for businesses and entrepreneurs to capitalize on and benefit from. It quietly introduces small tweaks and changes to its e-commerce audience, that even the shrewdest of social media marketing managers could inadvertently skip.
For example, Facebook has expanded its user response options; now when users hover over to click like, they also find hearts, dislikes, and various emojis to respond to products, services, videos, and images. Smart businesses are learning to leverage these new features and help boost their ROI through social media marketing. Let’s dive deeper into some of Facebook’s new business-oriented features.
Facebook has transformed from being an information source of people’s personal lives to a platform offering current events and global news. More than 50 percent of Facebook users consider the platform as their primary news source, with most of them following an event or news story exclusively via the social network. For several media firms, a major portion of their referral traffic is courtesy Facebook.
In May, 2015, Facebook launched a new feature called “Instant Articles“, with the goal to cut out the middleman. Facebook selected some media outlets and asked them to publish content to the network directly. Content published to Instant Articles is mobile-optimized and has a shorter loading period in comparison to posts linking out to a third-party site; making it a great social media marketing tool. The feature also offers an enhanced user experience for readers in the form of audio captions, auto-playing videos, photo zoom, etc.
For digital marketers, Instant Articles provides quite a few takeaways. First, the appearance emphasizes mobile-first content’s importance, and the relevance of web property optimization for consumption on tablet PCs and smartphones. If a company’s Facebook page links to a site that’s not mobile-friendly, the business is already losing out its users to competition that offers mobile-first or optimized content. And the competition would increase with the proliferation of Instant Articles.
Second, the feature is providing elements that increase user interaction for publishers without Facebook nosing in. These entail interactive aspects that come along with a write-up, such as pull quotes, a brief video summary, and parallax scrolling, to name a few. Participating in the Instant Articles program is not mandatory for enriching content – having a capable web designer on-board is more than enough.
This feature is only available to businesses with a physical location specified on their Facebook page. As the name suggests, the badge is a sign verifying the page owner’s authenticity. For companies that want to come across genuine, the badges will help their cause.
Local business owners use this social media marketing tool to conveniently verify their Facebook listing by heading to the Admin settings and verifying the page with a publicly listed business phone number.
Facebook administrators can now have a responsiveness indicator on their company’s page, stating how long the customers should wait (on an average) to expect a response. The options are usually in the “in minutes” to “in a day” range. This feature is considered Facebook’s way to reward or recognize businesses who respond to their Facebook fans in a matter of minutes.
Though the change is minor, its effects are expected to be substantial in boosting social media marketing efforts. Businesses could now put down pre-written responses before being able to put in a personal response to user queries or comments; this helps assure customers that the business cares.
A Fresh Inbox
Besides adding front-end communication methods, Facebook has also worked on the back end of things to offer businesses more context about incoming messages. Based on a user’s profile information, page administrators could now see the user’s current city – this should help determine the time zone or the store the user has visited.
There’s also a fresh activity tab that lets admins monitor page comments. Page administrators could now pull out the entire comment of a customer and the history of responses with the firm. And the comments could be marked as done, flagged for follow-up, or replied to privately.
Facebook Mentions (Live Video Streaming)
As per several studies, video consumption and engagement on Facebook is rivaling even the likes of YouTube, in terms of popularity and reach. At the moment, Facebook rules the video content business among social media marketing platforms. Facebook wants to further expand its video services through Facebook Mentions – a live streaming service.
Video streaming is hitting ceilings of popularity, especially with the mass adoption of Periscope; so when it comes to leveraging this tool of social media marketing, it’s a big deal. Facebook is not far behind this race and has been quietly developing its native video streaming tool. With this feature, users can begin a live broadcast that’s simultaneously up on the News Feed for others to view and comment on. Once the recording is done, it could be uploaded to Facebook for permanent viewership.
Though similar to Periscope in form and function, Facebook videos do not wither away in 24 hours. For businesses, this means they can rest assured their well-made, valuable videos will get archived for future consumption.
As mentioned earlier, the live streaming option isn’t available to all Facebook users but only those with a verified badge on their page. Most companies or brands with access to the feature are using the tool as a medium for showcasing their behind-the-scenes work, introducing customers to key employees, direct chats, etc.
Staying true to the trend, social media marketing companies or digital marketers can use the feature to give users a preview of their new services or products. It’s another way for businesses to get acquainted with their customers and build the brand. Click Here for Smart Online Marketing.
See First Option
Facebook now lets its users personalize their News Feed for prioritizing updates from specific groups, pages and friends. This is wonderful news for businesses who complain about their good-quality content constantly getting lost in the crowd. However, to enable the option, users will have to do some digging. Businesses can help by guiding their fans through the process. To activate the feature, the user must head to the specific Facebook page, like the page and then choose the option “See First”.