What’s new at Facebook these past few weeks? A lot, as it turns out, with new features of all shapes and sizes being added to the billion-member-plus social network. Some, like mobile sharing, have long been on users’ feature wish lists, while others leave many scratching their heads especially in terms of business application.
As all of this can be hard for brands to stay on top of, let’s take a look at these updates from a tactical business-focused perspective and determine if they are of any use to you and your brand.
Admittedly, we’re starting our review with the feature that holds the least impact for businesses — couples pages! Simply put, if you’re in a (Facebook) relationship with someone, Facebook has taken the liberty of making a page for you. Great … You can see yours at facebook.com/us.
Business impact? None. Frankly, it’s minimal all the way around for both individual users and businesses.
Mobile Share Button
One of Facebook’s most-requested features has finally been added — a share button on their mobile site and smartphone apps. Beyond enhancing the user experience, this update in particular holds significant impact for brands. According to The Social Habit data from Edison Research, over 50% of Americans access the site via mobile devices.
However, the one thing you could never do was share content posted by your friends and the brand pages you follow. As sharing branded content is digital currency for businesses — especially B2B marketers — this has represented a huge oversight. All of that changed this week as Facebook added the feature, first on their mobile site and then the apps.
Business impact? Powerful. One could imagine that brands posting engaging content could see greater amplification as the mobile “sharing blackout” has been lifted. This increased reach should also lead to audience growth as well as it’s now even easier for users to share branded content.
Fetch! What’s that? Oh, that was the sound of Facebook throwing brands a bone. Recently they also rolled out a pages-only news feed filter that users can access on the left hand side of their walls, excluding all updates except those from brand pages.
Sounds great, right? While this does ‘sound great’ one has trouble imagining why an average Facebook user would want to utilize this view. Other than social taking heads who troll pages looking for best practices and dos and don’ts, most are drawn to social media for their friends’ updates and tolerate brands if they add value and don’t clog their feed. Could this view change that? Perhaps. Only time will tell.
Business impact? For right now, though targeted as a postive for brands, this feature adds very little.
Another frustratingly absent mobile feature was the ability to tag users, other than clumsily saying you were geographicly ‘with them’ (which wasn’t always the case). As with mobile sharing, Facebook has finally added this feature to any status, comment, or photo you post. The downside? You still cannot tag brand pages in updates. Theoretically this is similar functionality to tagging users which makes one wonder why it wasn’t included with so many other brand-focused features.
Business impact? Until you can tag brand pages — which poses impact on the scale of mobile sharing as it potentially enhances reach and amplification — this feature only helps social media users, not businesses.
What This Means
Many of these new features reinforce the powerful role mobile activity plays on Facebook marketing. Mobile sharing logically holds the greatest potential for brands looking to enhance engagment and reach, while others aren’t fully baked yet such as mobile tagging.
As you aim for increased mobile sharing, don’t forget to shore up what you’re sharing. Encourage engagment with bold infographics and photos. Ensure a seamless mobile experience by having the links you share lead to optimized content on a website that utilizes responsive design for an intuitive yet branded experience.
With these updates, what do you think is next for businesses on Facebook? What new features would have the greatest impact on your brand?