In the social networking world, things move incredibly fast. I’m not just referring to how quickly you can connect to other people or businesses. I’m talking about the changes each platform releases. Some of these changes are minuscule, but there are some changes you will want to know.
This article focuses on recent and announced Facebook changes as of March 2019.
More Private Messaging Capabilities
CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced at the beginning of this month that Facebook would be focusing on a better, more private messaging experience. Ephemeral content is a main motivator here, along with the thousands of security breaches Facebook experienced last year. Ephemeral content is the temporary, quick, one-glance-and-your-done content that the next generation loves. Think about Snapchat for a better understanding. Nothing is permanent.
What does this change potentially look like for Facebook? Zuckerburg said they’re looking to produce new tools that businesses could use that would allow them to further their commerce and products in private messaging. I don’t know at this point what exactly this means, but my guess is that it will play into the “consumer funnel” – how you get a customer from simply looking at your product to actually purchasing it. How nonprofits, ministries, and churches can use this is unclear at this point. Perhaps it would allow you to connect more personally with potential attendees.
Another change will be an open communication between Facebook’s messaging applications. These include Instagram Direct, WhatsApp, and Messenger. Basically, if you get a messaging on one, you can answer through another. Facebook has already made a shift in this direction by rolling out a new feature where you can answer Instagram Direct messages through your Facebook page. This is not yet available to everyone (the mission board doesn’t have it yet either), but it’s supposed to be coming within the next few weeks.
Eventually, we’ll see an ability to communicate between the messaging apps and text messages as well. My hope is that this not only functions well but also looks good. Clunky tools, no matter how great the intention, are still clunky. This feature isn’t going to hit the platform anytime soon – expect this in the next few years.
Facebook Group Invitations
With all of the algorithm changes last year, Facebook Groups have seen a doubling in usage. Facebook is capitalizing on this fact by providing new features that make groups all the more useful.
This is already one of my favorite offerings because Facebook Groups allow for more intimate, intentional conversations. Personally, I find it hard to relate and assist people if I’m messaging them as a page instead of as myself. Groups provide a great environment to achieve that personal touch, while allowing others to hop into the conversation if interested.
One of the most frustrating parts of Facebook Groups was the invitation feature. You’d invite someone and they’d automatically be added without their consent. I liked the idea of inviting people, because the Facebook Group would only grow. BUT without their consent? Come on, Facebook.
Facebook finally fixed this problem by incorporating a “preview” feature. When you invite anyone to the group now, they are allowed a period of time to view the page (with limited interactions) and decide whether to accept the invitation. The cool thing is that you can view who these people are by clicking “Members” and then looking to your right-hand sidebar under “Invited.”
Facebook Subscription Groups
Another change that is the test phase is Facebook Group Subscriptions. Apparently there were people interested in monetizing their Facebook Groups. Facebook is currently testing this feature with a few small businesses and self-employed people, so it is unavailable to the general public. This feature would allow admins to charge a fee to join the Facebook Group. I think this could be useful if your group provides content that has longevity – perhaps using the Social Learning Units. I don’t know that this is a feature we would use, simply because I like the idea of having a community to exchange ideas without a paywall. However, it’s good to be aware that this feature could be coming.
Facebook Mobile App Updates
This is a recent change, and probably one you’ve noticed. On your mobile app, you’re going to see (if you don’t already) a flag icon that links you directly to the pages you manage. This is a great help to me because of the volume of pages I currently administer.
Just by tapping the icon, I have direct access to switch between any of my pages. I can create a post, view shares, respond to comments, see notifications, manage groups, and create/review any ads from the page.
I see this as a good alternative to the “Pages” mobile app, simply because I don’t have to switch between apps now to get quick access to my pages.
So, which one of these changes excites you? Are there any changes you’re aware of but I didn’t mention here? Let me know!