7 Brand New Facebook Features You Should Know About
Facebook is constantly changing, and keeping up with its new features is difficult for most communications and marketing professionals. Whether you are doing communications, content, social care or advertising, there are newly introduced tools that you need to know about. Here is the latest and greatest from Facebook:
1. Facebook Messenger allows you to add contacts (who are not your “friends”)
“Frenemies are enemies who act like friends.” – “Mean Girls”
Perhaps one of the smartest additions to Facebook is the (still in beta) capability to add contacts to your Messenger app without having to be Facebook friends. Especially during an election season, who would not welcome the opportunity have a conversation with someone without having to read their Facebook posts? In all seriousness, by treating Messenger as a standalone service rather than subordinate to Facebook they’re able to offer greater connection (numbers-wise) than a professional social network like LinkedIn is capable of doing.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Potentially pretty useful. Imagine using LinkedIn InMail and actually getting responses back. And imagine if LinkedIn had Messenger’s UI – awesome!
2. Facebook Messenger allows you have “secret conversations”
“AB conversation (definition) – a conversation between only a few people, and don’t want anyone else involved.” – Urban Dictionary
Perhaps one of the most pro-privacy additions to Facebook is the (still in beta) capability to have encrypted conversations within Facebook Messenger. Reportedly this means that secret conversations are encrypted end-to-end, and once initiated on a device will not be available across all devices. For example, if you start a secret conversation from your mobile device and a friend receives on a mobile device conversation only exists between the two devices.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Probably not super useful. In fact, if customers or prospects start using encrypted messages to contact you or your business, you need to understand that you won’t be able to see these across devices.
3. Facebook Live will allow you to broadcast from two devices to a single video
“Sadness is but a wall between two gardens.” – Khalil Gibran
Quite a few very unique content pieces and news stories have been created using Facebook Live Video. One of the biggest limitations to this feature has been that it only streams from one mobile device, restricting what types of content can be used with it. But starting now for verified brands (i.e. celebrities) and September for non-verified brands (i.e. the rest of us) Facebook Live Video can be broadcast from two different devices.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Somewhat. If you can use this feature to create better, more engaging content on Facebook then it’s awesome.
4. Facebook Live is now easier to use
“Have patience. All things are difficult before they become easy.” – Saadi
Not that Facebook Live was a difficult application to use anyhow, but Facebook recently changed the user interface to make creating a live video simple as pressing a button twice. While this may be a relatively minor adjustment, that it is that much easier for mobile users to post to Facebook Live likely means that there will be more live video content broadcast on Facebook.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Double-edged sword. It makes broadcasting to Facebook Live a little easier, but if you’re prone to creating extemporaneous or superfluous content this might enable you to create more bad content.
5. Facebook Live is being monetized
“If you can count your money, you don’t have a billion dollars.” J. Paul Getty
How would you like to watch advertisements in the middle of your Facebook Live videos? If the answer is “yes” then you are going to be thrilled with the last advertising development at Facebook. Facebook is piloting a program where videos will run in the middle of Facebook Live video sessions – just like television advertisements, except on Facebook Live.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Probably not so much. Advertising in Facebook Live is likely to look (and cost) similar to TV network commercials…. at least for now.
6. Facebook is rolling out Snapchat-esque filters and masks
“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” – Eudora Welty
My kids like Snapchat filters, but they love SNOW filters. This is why we’re all disappointed that Facebook is copying Snapchat and not SNOW. Facebook rolled this feature out to Brazil and Canada for the Olympics and should release it soon to all. Probably the best way to interpret this feature is as a way to encourage more user content creation.
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? Probably not a whole lot unless there is an aspect that can be monetized like Snapchat geo filters, or if you think that a niche tactic like dog masks for spokespeople would be advisable (spoiler alert: it’s not).
7. Facebook Lifestage is a new Facebook app that is (intended) only for teenagers
“All that’s sacred is in youth.” – Eddie Vedder
You may have heard that Facebook rolled out a new teen-only platform called “Lifestage,” which allows high school students to share content with people in the same school. There are many problems with it – it’s pretty easy for parents (or anyone) to join and spy on their kids, it’s school-specific and therefore insular, and it links directly to Instagram and Snapchat (neither of which has Lifestage’s problems).
How useful is this to communications and marketing pros? It’s not. It’s not monetized, and even if it were it’s probably not going to compete with Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook with teenagers. But you can start a pretty killer discussion with parents about it (for a couple of weeks, anyhow).
In the immediate future, perhaps you will be able to send encrypted pictures of yourself as a dog to another person on Facebook. Perhaps then you will be able to broadcast a Facebook Live video together to discuss the encrypted pictures, and some fortunate company will be able to advertise during your video. Perhaps a teenager might see your Live video and post about it on Lifestage, and perhaps the whole high school will be talking about the picture of you as a dog.
Perhaps none of this is likely, but there are some pretty big changes on the horizon and now you know about them.
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