Most businesses have been very busy during the month of December, and Facebook was no exception. It wasn’t just from the increased use of the social network to market products to consumers, Facebook also made several changes to its desktop and mobile platforms that could be useful to consumers. Many of these changes were small and didn’t get the attention the new Call to Action buttons on cover photos received. Though they may only provide a small advantage, business owners and marketers should always be on the lookout for new ways to use social media for their benefit. So here are three changes Facebook made in December that can be useful to marketers, especially mobile marketers.
Updates to Facebook Search
Back at the beginning of the month, Facebook announced some important changes to the way Facebook’s Graph Search Beta works. Most people who are trying to search for items on Facebook want to look at posts they’ve seen before. This latest algorithm change will make it easier for people to find posts that have been shared with them by their friends. Mobile users will be able to look up an old video someone shared with them, find a news article that had been shared with them that they were meaning to read, or look at photos from an event in the past.
These changes are part of Facebook’s effort to make the platform more accessible for mobile users. Besides being available on the desktop version of Facebook Graph Search, these features are also being extended to mobile. These changes don’t require marketers to change their strategies, however, it does increase the importance of getting content liked and shared since it will show up in users’ searches in the future.
Trending Topics Added to Mobile
Another change coming to Facebook apps on Android and iOS is the introduction of a Trending Topics section similar to the one on desktop. Like on desktop, the topics will be chosen for each user based on the things they like, their friends, etc. However, unlike desktop, the mobile trending topics will be organized into five sections for each topic. So for a particular subject, mobile users can quickly find out:
Articles shows how news organizations are covering the story.
In the Story shows posts from people who are part of the story.
Friends and Groups shows what people in your network are saying.
Near the Scene shows posts from people near where the story is unfolding.
Live Feed shows a real-time stream of reactions from people around the world.
Marketers can’t take advantage of this directly, but if they are writing about popular topics, they can get exposed to new audiences on mobile by way of these improvements. Many people first learn about news items from posts on Facebooks, so extending the Trending Topics to mobile is a good thing for business owners.
Rooms Features on Facebook for iOS Improved
The last change is just for iOS users. Facebook has a standalone app called Rooms where people can to connect with others who have a similar interest. This month, they added an “Explore” function on iOS-only app that helps people find new people and content while on Facebook. This update will make it easier for people to explore the various Rooms.
“In Rooms v1.2, you’ll notice a new “Explore” button in the top-left of the app,” the company wrote on the Rooms Blog. “Navigate there to take a peek at a handful of awesome rooms and join them with a single tap!”
As this is only for iOS users, the applications for marketers are limited, but certainly still there. Rooms can be used to connect with consumers interested in a brand or the area of interest where a brand operates. For example, a outdoors gear retailer could use a room to give out helpful tips.
Tomorrow marks a brand new year for marketers, filled with opportunities and unknowns. One of the few things that marketers can be sure of is that Facebook will remain a valuable tool for reaching diverse audiences with marketing and advertising messages. By paying attention to the small things that Facebook does to make the platform better for marketers, business owners can increase the reach and effectiveness of their social media campaigns.
Unfortunately, it won’t all be good news for Facebook marketing going into the new year. Read this article about the possibility that Facebook will further restrict the organic reach of business page posts in 2015.