Facebook is by far one of the most exciting social media platforms. In 2017, there is a whole roll out of new exciting features that’s going to make marketing and advertising a lot easier for all of us and I can’t wait to share some of these features with you.
Having started advertising on Facebook since they rolled out their advertising features, I have seen Facebook improve their platfom by leaps and bounds, not only making it easier for users but including tons of options that allow advertisers to take full advantage of Facebook.
1) Facebook Page Conversions
Facebook pages now allow you to click to buy products and complete a range of other conversion types. This allows users to buy products on the spot, within Facebook’s platform.
This feature allows people to book appointments, request quotes, book tickets and order takeaway directly from Facebook pages.
With this, Facebook is essentially turning your business page into a free personal website/store.
On top of making it increasingly convenient for people to buy things from their platform, thus providing an additional channel for revenue that businesses can use.
And complementing the fact that more and more people choose to make their purchases online,
Facebook will no doubt dominate the online shopping scene.
2) Facebook Live (Available in Singapore)
FB live allows anyone to post live videos of themselves on Facebook’s platforms. In 2016, the feature was still in its early phases and more businesses are starting to jump into using this FB live to advertise, expand their reach & engage viewers.
Here’s a great example,
In this, Phillips did a live demonstration where a chef used their air fryer to cook.
They went a step further by getting the viewers to give suggestions on what type of food they want to see, as the host read out the comments to the chef.
And to make things even more exciting, they did a mini contest where participants could win a free air fryer.
Facebook Live is an incredible tool that you can use to promote your business. Apart from live demonstrations, you can use it to host your own webinars, get feedback from your customers, product launches, run a contest or to broadcast an event.
By doing things “Live”, it gives your brand a very personal touch and separate your company from all the cold, corporate “serious businesses out there.
It’s also a great way to build trust and rapport with your market because you are interacting with them in real time.
3) Facebook MarketPlace (This is unavailable to Singapore for now)
This is where Facebook’s 1.7+ billion users can buy and sell products. The focus is on users finding items in their local area. Apparently, there are even people using it to sell their houses!
Watch this short 1 minute video to see how it works:
Posted by Facebook Marketplace Community on Thursday, 29 September 2016
Honestly, there are a couple of platforms that are similar to this i.e. Craigslist, Ebay, Carousell….
But the real value of why I believe this will work for Facebook, is because of their huge active user base (3.5mil in Singapore, alone!) and the technology and resources that the company already has to support this Marketplace, which will probably help users sell their goods far more effectively as compared to the other similar services.
4) Workplace by Facebook (available in Singapore)
This is a new service by Facebook where they will create a private platform that aims to boost productivity for businesses that use it.
On this platform, employees can create private groups for different teams, you can even invite business partners (who are not employees) into these groups to join discussions and brainstorms.
In fact, you can even create documents within these groups for your discussions/ projects:
There’s also a live feature which can be used to conduct a virtual meeting/ presentation.
Workers can also use the Facebook Messenger tool for communication.
And stay up-to-date with the conversations that are going on within the platform by using the Newsfeed feature,
This new service is by design, made to be very user friendly and easy to use. The whole interface of this, mimics it’s social media platform so there is no training required when adopting Workplace by Facebook…. Because your employees already know how to use it!
However, the feature that really takes the cake (IMHO), is the inbuilt analytics tools where you can search up trending posts and statistics:
All in all, this is an excellent service that will help your business to keep track and manage your projects, improve communication between your employees and team leaders.
5) Recommendations feature (Unavailable in Singapore)
This allows people to recommend businesses i.e. retail stores, restaurants, events… to their own friends. So when people need to buy something or just want to hang out, they will be able to see a list of recommendations from their own friends.
Here’s the revamped interface for events recommendations where users can see events that their are popular with their friends:
Now, I understand that to some people, this feature may not seem like much.
But the reality is, we tend to look to our friends for advice on many things from whether it is worth trying out the new cafe that just opened around the corner to which brand of electronics to buy.
Also, here’s an interesting statistic by invespcro.com on which social media sites that people tend to visit before buying something.
What this means, is that businesses need to start planning strategies to get recommendations from their customers (give out discounts and freebies or something…) because the more highly rated they are, the more sales they can expect.
And combine this with the Facebook conversions trend that we mentioned earlier, after seeing that your business is highly recommended, people can immediately buy from you, straight off Facebook.
6) Virtual Reality (VR)
On top of owning the increasingly popular virtual reality tool Oculus, Facebook bought the Edinburgh-based immersive audio company Two Big Ears specialises in creating hyper-realistic 3D audio, will be available for free to all developers creating VR content in the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation.
With advancements in this technology and the fact that Facebook is opening it up to the public, you can expect to see more and more businesses running VR advertising in the near future!
Check out a 360 VR ad by Nescafe:
As it provides a highly immersive experience for consumers,
VR would greatly benefit businesses that have something to showcase i.e. events, property, product demonstrations…
Another perk of VR, is that it may potentially allow us to work from anywhere in the world.
Here’s an example of Mark Zuckerberg (founder, Facebook) where he was doing a virtual reality demonstration at a conference.
In this image, he and his colleagues “teleported” from where they were (the conference exhibit) to Mark’s office in the Facebook HQ
As a speculation, when this technology gets more sophisticated, it will be implemented into the Workplace by Facebook and employees will get to work from literally anywhere in the world!
7) Cross-selling & Upselling
In 2016, Facebook launched their Carousel features which allows a business to display multiple products in one ad.
Here’s an example:
Also, the feature itself can also be implemented at the top of your business’s facebook page, which serves to act like a “mini catalogue” of your products.
The important thing to note here is that since Facebook has officially rolled out its new feature where people can buy things off their platform,
Think of this as Facebook’s “recommendation system” where businesses can more effectively do their cross-sells & upsells.
For example, if after someone buys a handbag from you, the system will recommend a matching dress or shoes (whatever you want it to be)…
It’s like when we walk into a McDonald’s and order a meal. When the cashier suggests an upsize, chances are, we’d take it.
So, business owners should rejoice because a simple feature like this has been proven to drive massive sales by getting people to buy… more.
In fact, it is so effective that companies like Amazon and Netflix rely heavily on their own “recommendation systems” to get sales.
8) Messenger Bots
Imagine having a personal secretary on your phone….
And that’s exactly what Messenger Bots are!
With this, people can build bots for Facebook’s messenger platform and these bots, can provide anything from automated subscription content (traffic and weather updates, newsletters…)
Bots, can even act as customer service personnel and answer questions on your behalf.
In fact, it is even equipped with technology that not only allows them to understand conversational language,
They can even learn from it and grow “smarter” with every interaction!
Here’s an example of a bot handling customer service:
And this is just the tip of the iceberg!
There are many more things that bots can do for you and your business (it all depends on how you program it).
This is like having another employee of your own that works round the clock!
The best part is, you can even share your bot with friends/ business partners so they can use it too..
9) Facebook Video Ads
Video, is arguably one of the biggest trends that will happen in 2017. Especially with the advent of Facebook live, VR…
More and more businesses are moving into using video advertising to get sales and create brand awareness.
And this trend is expected to continue to grow.
Here are some statistics on a survey done by animoto:
This is important because a good video ad will grab and retain the attention of consumers better.
There is so much more information that you can convey in a video to convince a customer to buy something from you when compared to a single image ad.
I’m sure we’ve seen interesting or funny commercials that we can’t seem to get out of our mind.
Well, video advertising can help businesses to achieve that same effect.
10) Customer Engagement
This is a growing trend that many businesses are adopting, where they communicate more actively with their target markets.
From doing Facebook live videos to simply replying them in a conversational manner.
In fact, if you do this right, your business could even achieve a “internet celebrity” status, which is what happened to Wendy’s where they interacted with their audience in a humorous manner:
They applied this across all their social media platforms from tumblr to twitter… and have managed to develop a huge following because of it.
In fact, Facebook encourages businesses to create more engagement with their users. Which is most evidently seen in the new features they’ve been rolling out
Such as running contests:
Here’s an example of a contest:
And their “Engagement Custom Audience” which is available in Facebook advertising
It doesn’t get anymore obvious than this!
Engagement builds trust, goodwill and rapport with your consumers. So if a business wants to differentiate itself from competitors, engagement is definitely the way to go!
But hey, don’t take it from me. Take it from the statistics and other businesses that are already doing engagement:
11) Messenger Ads
As part of the new page conversions feature, now business owners can choose to direct customers who clicked on their ads…. To messenger bots or to a live employee.
And the best part is, it is now possible for customers to make purchases straight from the messenger platform itself!
This is truly “striking while the iron is hot”,
By doing this, your bot/ employee will get to immediately follow up with a potential customer and handle any objections or questions that could have potentially prevented him from buying…
12) Facebook Mid-roll ads,
Facebook, is now experimenting with a new ad-style, where they will start showing ads in the middle of videos that people watch.
What this means, is that business owners can use this feature to advertise their products/ services on unbranded video content.
Similar to how an ad pops up in the middle of watching a youtube video.
This opens up a whole new avenue for advertising.
It is pretty often that advertising gets ignored on people’s newsfeeds.
But with this, your message can actually get to the eyes of your target market!