What Facebook's recent updates mean for publishers, real estate agents and SMEs
At Facebook's Developer Conference earlier last month, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that some updates were afoot. Here, I look at how these changes will impact publishers, real estate companies and small to medium sized businesses.
For a company with 1.6 billion monthly active users, Facebook is suffering from overshare fatigue, and research from The Information is showing that sharing of personal updates (your birthday photos, your cute dog pictures, your stream of consciousness about Game of Thrones latest episode) has decreased 21% from 2014 to 2016.
What that means for Facebook the company is less personal data, which in turn leads to them being less able to profit from that data. With that in mind, they’ve been quietly transforming the company from a social network, to a personal platform that aspires to be the only place you need to view content on the internet.
Remember the days of “walled gardens” when you opened your browser and went straight to the Vodafone homepage - only linking off to the content they wanted to promote? That’s where we’re heading again, only this time, your homepage will be Facebook and will be personalised to what you have subscribed to. In order to achieve that they’re building lots of new tools that will service the business community and push more interactions onto the Facebook platform.
One of those tools is Live Video. It’s no secret that video is the thing millennials all want - 40% say they’re watching more native video on their smartphone than they were a year ago - and Facebook wants to be the go-to video solution. To achieve that they’ve developed Live Video which let's people and pages share live video with their followers on Facebook. These videos can be viewed via the News Feed and, interestingly, Facebook will be giving higher ranking to those videos which are live. So any that have a little icon in the top corner of the video signifying their “live” status are more likely to be seen by more people.
There are lots of scenarios where Live Video is going to be of great use in driving engagement with your brand:
- As a real estate company you can use them at Open For Inspections or high profile auctions
- As a publisher you could use them to record a portion of an interview or backstage footage with a musician or band
- As a small business you could use them for your business launch event
They sound like something out of a 1980s geeky film but chatbots are coming to Facebook Messenger. What’s their purpose? To help you communicate with your audience and customers either on a one to one basis or one to many. Given Facebook has 900 million users on messenger, it makes sense for them to open out this functionality to companies who want to engage with their users using the platform that they’re already on.
Add Messenger as an additional means of customer service - have the ChatBot accessible from your website to answer frequently asked questions. Respond to your customers faster without having to pay for additional resource to physically answer questions. Use it to answer questions that your customers have about a particular real estate property or to provide product information. All far more efficient than having to answer questions personally.
This isn’t one that came from the developer conference, but Facebook’s 2014 purchase of Oculus Rift has potential to transform industries like real estate. Combine the functionalities of Live Video with the Messenger Chatbots and Virtual Reality and you have inserted yourself into a live auction where the ChatBot can give you instant access to all the information you need on the property. Genius.
Facebook recently opened up Instant Articles to all publishers. Which means it doesn’t matter what size you are, you can take advantage of speedier load times to increase your customer engagement. Instant Articles still allows monetisation via display ads, you can insert your own pre-roll video and you can take advantage of using your direct sales team or leveraging the Facebook ad network. They’ve also opened up the ability to do branded content within instant articles - adding an additional revenue stream.
Once a social network, Facebook is successfully transforming itself into a platform full of functionality that has uses across multiple industries. Now it just needs to get people sharing personal stories again!
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The founder of G67, a consultancy firm which devises bespoke digital strategies for small businesses. With 15 years experience in the digital space, across telco, media, music, real estate and SMEs we can help you optimise your digital assets to meet your business goals.
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