Facebook is hard at work on a variety of projects across its several different products. From Messenger to Instagram, plans are in the works to improve their experiences.
Whether they succeed is anyone’s guess. But, you can bet that the changes they put in place will make a major impact on users and businesses alike. Here's a brief rundown on some of the things that Facebook has cooking for its suite of applications.
It’s no secret that private messaging has become a major focal point for all social media. Messenger is one application that’s part of this shifting tide.
Shared Content Experiences
Messenger has ambitions of creating a communal experience through content. Its users can soon discover and watch Facebook videos together with friends in real time. Tests are underway to make content sharing more seamless between Facebook and Messenger. Widespread functionality for this will roll out later this year.
A Desktop Experience is on the way
Messenger users will soon get an application for their desktop computers. Facebook has plans to release a standalone Messenger program for Windows and Mac. Among its features are group video calls as well as project collaboration.
Improving B2C Communication
Businesses on Facebook will receive upgrades to how they advertise. Messenger will soon support ads that drive people to a simple question and answer chat. Appointment setting is another new feature that's coming, too. Customers will be able to schedule visits with select businesses through Messenger chats.
In 2018, Facebook launched WhatsApp Business. It’s an application for businesses that use WhatsApp for customer communication. That, though, was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to commerce on the platform. Facebook has another new feature coming that will improve customer relations for companies.
A Way to Showcase Products
Product Catalog is a new feature that WhatsApp is currently testing. With it, customers will have a chance to see a menu of products that a business offers. CEO Mark Zuckerberg called it an important development for small businesses without websites.
Facebook has hinted at making groups more central to its experience. So far in 2019, the company has kept its word with another new redesign. The new and improved mobile app now makes it easier for people to find and engage with groups.
That, though, is only the beginning. There's plenty more to examine in Facebook’s shift to groups.
Rethinking the Groups Experience
The mobile app redesign introduced new features that make groups more accessible. Take the groups tab for example. It now shows users a personalized feed of activity from across all their groups. The news feed is also joining in on the fun. It's now integrating group content to make it simpler for users to engage with groups.
Certain community types have also received unique functionalities. Below are some of the features that are available to specific kinds of groups.
Health Support: Members can post questions and share information in an anonymous fashion.
Jobs: These groups have new templates for employers to post openings. They also have simpler ways for job seekers to reach and apply to companies.
Gaming: Facebook added a new chat feature for users that stream their video gameplay.
Buy and Sell: Facebook is still investigating this. But, it's looking for ways to let buyers ask questions and place orders in the middle of a live broadcast.
Instagram is well on its way to surpassing Facebook in relevance. It’s popular among a wide swath of people, and doesn’t appear to giving hold anytime soon. New features are on the way that are sure to convince businesses to invest further resources.
Shopping From Creators
The influencer economy starts and ends on Instagram. What people of influence do on the app often has a huge impact on a business’ bottom line. Instagram recognized this and has made it easier to buy creator-endorsed products.
So far, a select group of influencers have the ability to tag products they’re wearing in their content. This streamlines a process that once required tedious engagement. Both influencers and businesses will receive shared insights on these new shopping posts.
Hiding Public Like Counts
One main criticism of social media is the focus on vanity metrics such as likes and followers. Instagram is working on a way to address that with a beta test in Canada that hides public like counts. Users will still be able to see how much engagement their own content received. But the change would no longer allow users to see the engagement of other accounts they follow.
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