With over 1.32 billion active users daily, Facebook is the most popular social platform out there, and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. It’s also one of the best business tools — which is why some 80 million businesses use the social platform regularly to connect with customers and to build their brand.
This year, Facebook is making significant changes to business pages across the board with the goal of improving business engagement. They're also doing another overhaul of their newsfeed and other features to make certain items more legible and user-friendly.
So, what are they up to this time? Read on for an overview of new and updated Facebook features.
Features Related to Local Search
Facebook is currently unrolling and improving features specific to local searches. One of the changes of interest to businesses is that they’re improving their recommendations feature. Recommendations allow people to endorse and review businesses in an automated way, as well as share photos. The results are displayed right on the business page.
Recommendations are especially crucial for local businesses in the service, retail, and food sectors. People are increasingly relying on this type of peer-to-peer review to help them decide where to eat, shop, and hang out. But it can also be practical for other types of local services such as dry cleaners, tailors, and wellness practitioners.
Businesses relying on local traffic will also want to familiarize themselves with the Facebook Local app. This new tool not only directs customers to companies and events, but also works with various peer-to-peer sharing activities. And if you regularly host ticketed events, you can now sell tickets directly through Facebook Events.
Businesses will also have more options for customizing information on their profiles like hours and prices. These enhanced features will help users make appointments and much more.
Taking a step beyond jobs alone, there is actually a new, innovative program to connect with others in their area of interest. The new and improved mentorship and support program will be centered around groups with themes like parenting and professional development.
Team building, communication, collaboration, and better engagement with everyone involved are the roster for improvements, so keep an eye out for related updates on the workplace profiles and directories. This feature can help colleagues and managers stay on track with birthdays, work anniversaries, updated qualifications, and other information in the interest of boosting productivity and morale.
Navigation Bar Redesign for Mobile
While mobile continues to dominate, another popular movement is the demand for customization, and Facebook is busy trying to keep up with the trends. One of the latest updates they’re doing is redesigning their navigation bar in the interest of better personalization.
The navigation bar is getting an upgrade where users will have personalized icons based on what you use the most. Now there are only five standard ones, which include "Watch" and "Marketplace" for every user. Everyone will still see the key icons, but others will be personalized.
The customization of mobile shortcuts is essential to encouraging mobile use and this may not only benefit local businesses but global businesses as well. Facebook is attempting to provide greater usability, personalization, and connectivity in response to the increasing demand on mobile-based usage.
Facebook Action Item Checklist for Businesses
Most of these changes are taking place quickly, and if you're a business, you'll want to take note of these key areas so you can keep your audience updated about the new features and how this makes things easier for them.
Here are some important things to check regularly:
- Are you using Facebook Stories? Special features like the “tap to react” button can help improve your engagement, so be sure to have them turned on.
- Have appropriate call-to-action buttons turned on, such as those designed for making appointments or fulfilling orders.
- Find the new page design that works best for you by looking at the Page template and incorporate all the relevant features such as appointments and ordering to help your business run smoothly.
- If you’re using videos for your ads, review video ad metrics reporting tools as they are continually being updated.
- Make sure that your mobile UX is up-to-date for Facebook and use the opportunity to ensure that the information listed on your Facebook page and website are consistent.
- Read a few Facebook success stories in your industry or use specific objectives (as well as other parameters) to generate ideas.
- Use the Pages to Watch feature to understand how similar pages in your field are performing.
- Use real-time ad reporting to carefully gauge and monitor ads to help you understand why some ads might be performing better than others.
- Be sure to read up on Facebook’s new look for mobile to understand how to have features like recommendations optimized for your business page.
Small Shifts, Big Impact
Facebook is constantly shifting its newsfeed algorithm and has been moving toward favoring genuine social interactions and away from marketing activities.
While this may seem discouraging for businesses, it’s actually the perfect opportunity to re-evaluate your Facebook (and social) strategy to get a better understanding of what’s working and what’s not and check out some new features.
The key here is to focus on quality engagement. Using videos, Stories and Facebook Live, asking questions, responding to customer service queries, using new messenger features for service-related activities, and using Facebook Ads and Groups strategically are just a few things you can do to ensure that you gain and maintain solid engagement levels with customers and clients.