Facebook has launched the first of many new functionalities in the U.S. in hopes of generating meaningful connections and experiences for consumers.
The first set of tools rolled out are:
- Recommendations: This tool allows consumers to ask for recommendations via a status-like update, i.e. if a user is looking for new restaurants or wants to book a reasonable, well-rated hotel, etc.
- Events: The Events functionality is more of an upgrade than a rollout; however, this feature will allow users to more easily view what events their friends are attending/interested in and what events are happening in the area—for today, tomorrow, the weekend, etc.
- Business Interactions: Facebook’s launch of Business Interactions will make it easier for local businesses to interact with their current consumers and potential customers
CONSIDERATIONS for MARKETERS
Just as consumers follow bloggers in various industries for product/service reviews, they also look to friends for suggestions. Facebook’s recommendation tool will allow consumers to create a “poll” to retrieve suggestions from friends, which will look something like this:
Image courtesy of Facebook
This change will have a positive impact on brands that market themselves well on Facebook. For example, if a Facebook user is seeking recommendations on local hair salons and a friend of that user makes a suggestion for a specific location, that business will populate onto a map that links directly to its Facebook page, company website, mobile app, etc. This further simplifies the process for the consumer to get from point A to point B of the CX Loop. Without having to do much at all, the consumer can click through and schedule an appointment on the spot—all spurred by a recommendation from a friend.
Consumers will now be able to find all events in one place, upgrading from the previous Events feature on Facebook. Users can now see what their friends are attending—when and where—and what events are coming up in their area in a more organized space, looking something like this:
Image courtesy of Facebook
According to Venturebeat, Facebook is currently working with vendors like Ticketmaster in hopes of selling tickets directly through social media, eliminating that extra step of visiting a third-party site. This particular change fuel’s Facebook’s competition with other social media outlets like Pinterest, which launched “Buyable Pins” earlier this year, enabling consumers to shop directly from the platform rather than visiting a retailer’s site.
Facebook is becoming a friendly space for local businesses. Facebook will allow consumers to interact directly with local businesses without ever having to leave the platform. Providing on-the-spot service, this development is meant to foster a more trusting relationship between consumers and businesses. It’s also meant to put the ball in the consumer’s court, allowing them to shop and search when and where they want.
The Business Interactions feature gives consumers the opportunity to instantly, and quickly, contact businesses. To demonstrate, if a consumer is looking for a new insurance provider and is browsing the brand’s page, Facebook will give him/her the option to get a quote without ever having to visit the branded website. Or, if a restaurant is offering a promotion through their Facebook page, it’s convenient for consumers to retrieve the coupon and book a table, not to mention share with their friends.
How will these changes impact brands?
While brands have little control over things like who recommends them to friends via Facebook, it’s important that brands continue to create personalized, meaningful connections. Brands should fully optimize their Facebook page to create seamless, simplified and engaging experiences for consumers. To do this:
- Completely fill out your profile page, so if a friend recommends your brand, all your information will populate, including contact information
- Update content and posts continually to generate brand awareness
- Optimize content with keywords relevant to the industry and consumer intent, allowing search engines to rank your social page higher in the results page
- Add call-to-action buttons, providing consumers with the option to instantly sign-up for newsletters or other promotions
- Leverage Messenger to make it easier for consumers to contact you