Facebook releases new features and tools regularly. Many of these releases go under the radar, especially minor tweaks that don’t affect businesses or marketers (or consumers) much. However, when you are using Facebook for business marketing it is important to track major updates closely so you aren’t left behind.
That’s why I’ve rounded up some of the most notable (and impactful) Facebook updates of the summer to help you make the most of the social network for your business.
Let’s begin with one of the latest updates – the new all-new messenger API for Instagram. The API was launched on June 2, 2021, at the annual F8 Refresh conference. This update allows businesses to use the same engagement features available on Facebook to directly respond to Instagram messages.
This will come as a relief to IG marketers who’ve recently experienced an influx of private messages and story responses. Checking and responding to those messages will no longer be so much of a challenge. The APIs now allow you to more easily respond to messages from different third-party platforms, making it much more convenient.
The majority of marketers think of Reels and Live videos as some of the best tools to come from Facebook recently. And, now, Facebook is making the two even more valuable by allowing marketers and creators to access native data for both. This means it is now easier to assess the performance of your Reels and Live videos. You can also more accurately assess their impact on your overall marketing strategies.
Metrics available for Reels campaigns include plays, account reach, likes, comments, saves, and shares. Meanwhile, for Live videos, you’ll get data on account reach, peak concurrent views, comments, and shares.
When Facebook announced in April that they would invest in social audio, including live audio rooms, they weren’t kidding around. The company recently unveiled Live Audio Rooms as a trial in the US. Initially, it will only be available on iOS, similar to Clubhouse. Initially, it will be rolled out to public figures and selected Facebook groups.
Users can log in, discover, and tune in to live rooms that interest them. They can also join live discussions with public figures and experts and even invite friends and followers. Conversations can have up to 50 speakers and an unlimited number of listeners.
On the same day that the company rolled out Live Rooms, Facebook also launched a live podcasts feature. The initial podcasts will include the Joe Budden podcast, Jac Vanek, Becca Tobin, and Keltie Knight. Nicaila Mathews Okome’s Side Hustle Pro is also available from July. They will continue to add more names in due course.
Like the Live Rooms feature, podcast fans can sign in, discover podcasts, and tune in. Users can listen while browsing Facebook via a mini-player or full-screen player. One can also tune in by selecting podcast creators on their Facebook Pages or in News Feed.
Finally, you’re likely aware of Facebook Shops, introduced around May 2020. At the time of the launch, the company defined Shops as “a mobile-first shopping experience that allows businesses to effortlessly create an online store on Facebook and Instagram for free.”
That definition is changing as Facebook introduces Shops on other marketplaces, including WhatsApp. Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement on June 22, 2021, via a Live Rooms session, further clarifying that Shops for Marketplace will be available immediately while Shops for WhatsApp will start soon.
In his June 22 speech, Zuckerberg also announced the launch of two other features, Shops Ads and Instagram visual searches. Shop Ads are available immediately, while AI-based visual search for Instagram will start in a few months. With all these developments, Facebook is proving to have a secure future in social media and continues to be an asset for business marketing.
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Let's talk about your business. With over a decade of experience leading companies and transforming lives, and a Master's degree in Org. Development and Leadership, Mike can help you find the best way forward!