[/vc_raw_html][text_output]“Facebook is a thing of the past” – Said no one ever. In fact, quite the opposite. With the passing of an important milestone on 24th August, Facebook saw, for the first time in history, one billion people use Facebook in a single day. To put that into perspective for you, that is 1 in 7 of the entire population of the world. Even the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, an avid user of Facebook and Twitter alike, has hailed “the political power of social media” speaking at Facebook IQ Sunday.
In this article I will discuss what is new in the world of Facebook: including 360° videos, live video streaming, a dislike button and more exciting things. I will also get to the good stuff and tell you how you can use this to your advantage. So, what’s new?
360° Degree Video
On the 23rd September Facebook announced the introduction for users to post 360° immersive videos to their newsfeed. This new feature will allow users to view the videos through the web and from the Facebook iOS and Android Apps. The videos are filmed by a special camera that captures 360 degree views of the scene. The user can interact with the video in much the same way as the 360° videos on YouTube – on your phone by tilting it at different angles or dragging your finger around the screen you can change your view of the video.
What does this mean for brands?
This is marketing gold – imagine the stories you can tell and the cool imagery you could produce to showcase your brand. The immersive nature allows users to interact heavily with the brand and really get a sensory experience. As of yet, Facebook has partnered with only a select group of publishers – including Discover, Disney, GoPro, Vice and StarWars.
This will eventually be rolled out to all users. This reflects a distinct change in the way users engage with social media and is a taster of the digital landscape to come.
Jay Parikh, the company’s VP of global engineering and infrastructure, discussed the shift in social media at the company’s @Scale engineering conference last week. In the past, it has been all about text- statuses, conversations and photos.
“What we see happening in the next couple years is bringing augmented reality and virtual reality to the experience that is on Facebook.”
Facebook isn’t the only one to have this view, entertainment titan Disney has just invested a cool $65 mil in Jaunt, with the prospect of being ahead of the curve in the realm of virtual reality. Perhaps it is time for brands to use video to get immersed with their audience, stay ahead of the game and lead by GoPro’s example, to better engage with potential customers.
Live streaming on Facebook
Summer was obviously a busy few months for Zuckerberg and the Facebook team. Last month Facebook introduced a new way to engage with public figures – a live streaming video feature. VIPs can live broadcast from Facebook Mentions, these live videos from public figures you follow, are available to view in your news feed. Unlike other live streaming platforms like Periscope and Meerkat, Facebook videos auto-publishes live stories so they won’t disappear after the moment has passed; the video will turn into a traditional video, allowing viewers to re-watch the recording.
Compelling and immersive, this new streaming feature can further help influencers engage with their audience. Not only that, imagine the potential for brands? By collaborating with influencers and celebrities, they can get instant publicity for their brand. When this is rolled out for all users’ brands can showcase products and also use brand ambassadors to get their brand’s ‘personality’ across.
Facebook’s Dislike Button
Some say it will be a dislike button, others say it will be an empathy button and there is even speculation of an emoji being used. Whatever you want to call it, since the introduction of the ‘like’ button in 2009 users have cried out for a way of showing when they don’t like something on Facebook, for instance, a sensitive post about a funeral. This is not just speculation, Zuckerberg actually said in a CNBC report that they are, in fact, “working on it, and are very close to shipping a test of it.”
For many news publications Facebook is the largest driver of traffic; being the voice of celebrities and brands alike means that this new feature may see them having to revisit their strategy and messaging. This is a step towards users and company’s being able to portray sentiment that can help personify brands.
“A more open and connected world is a better world.”
We can all agree that Facebook is fast becoming, if not already is, a world superpower. If the users on Facebook made up a population, it would be the third biggest country under China and India.
If you haven’t died of excitement as of yet with the new features Facebook has to offer, you will be excited to hear that Facebook is also adding a feature for those shopaholics out there. This new feature is still in the testing phase and will allow retailers to sell products direct from their Facebook page.
The introduction of this “shopping” section will give the buyer the option to go direct to the company’s website or to buy their product then and there. Although, this feature is great for retailers as they can “strike when the iron is hot” in that they can facilitate impulse buys, for search professionals, this may not be so much of a good thing. Not getting that valuable traffic from Facebook to their e-commerce site to complete a purchase journey may see website’s lose traffic.
Following suit of apps like Happn and Find My Friends, Facebook has jumped on the location feature bandwagon. The ‘Nearby Friends’ feature that has just become available for Aussie Facebook users was launched a year ago for our friends across the pond in the U.S. The new feature true to its name, can be turned on to see if you have friends in your general vicinity and is available for iOS and Android users. This feature will be great if you lose your friends at a festival, or for opportunities to meet your friends when you are out and about.
By far the biggest social media channel out there, Facebook in the last year is showing no signs of losing momentum. The new introduction of 360° videos and live streaming not only gives users an immersive experience but can potentially offer higher engagement with brands. We have seen that there is a lot in the pipeline for a multitude of additional features on Facebook, with the potential of a ‘shopping’ section and ‘dislike’ button it is vital for companies to have a clear, strategy in place to get the most out of this platform. But, it’s not all business, business, business in Facebook HQ. To quote Spiderman, “with great power, comes great responsibility” and that is why I would like to mention, Facebook also has a heart. Zuckerberg has announced he is planning to bring the internet to UN refugee camps.
“Connectivity will help refugees better access the aid community and maintain links to family and loved ones,” he said. “Facebook is in a unique position to help maintain this lifeline.”
And that is why we love Facebook.[/text_output][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/4″][visibility type=”hidden-desktop”][gap size=”20px”][/visibility][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”ups-sidebar-2″][/vc_column][/vc_row]