By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Three New Facebook Developments to Keep in Mind
I will emphasize for the 100th time again that 2011 is the year when Facebook starts exploding further as the #1 social network with an increasing number of brands trying to sell off of Facebook. Visualize a sales cycle where you log-in to Facebook, post an update, search for a product, get your friends to comment on the product you are getting ready to buy and then make the purchase right there on Facebook. The entire sales process just happened seamlessly on Facebook. Yeah so as a marketer, I would start thinking of ways to leverage Facebook into your sales cycle. Think of how to use Facebook to help your patients make appointments, help your business traveller reserve a hotel room or buy your products off of your Facebook profile.
Here are three interesting new developments that happened last week at Facebook that clearly demonstrate where the network is heading in terms of becoming the next Amazon or eBay:
Convert Individual Profiles into Business Pages: Personal profiles can now be transformed into business pages using the Profile to New Business Migration tool http://www.facebook.com/pages/create.php?migrate . This new development is great news for small business owners who have a good following (500+ friends) but were restricted to the limited capabilities of an individual profile. They can now start using the Page applications that allow them to set up a Like-gated landing page, run contests, collect email addresses, and recreate functionality from websites. Note that when you convert a personal profile into a Page, you will lose all content including photos, wall posts and “Like” connections to other Pages. Facebook recommends that you use their Download Your Information tool first to back up your content. Facebook has not formally announced the conversion from personal profile to Page, but it appears to be available worldwide. Read the pros and cons of switching from personal to Page here. http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=18918
Facebook Unveils New Mobile Site to Suit All Phones: With over 250M active mobile users, the social network has introduced a unified mobile website m.facebook.com which it says will boost usage across all kinds of handsets. The new mobile web site promises to optimize social networking regardless of device type and will offer the same features across smartphones and feature phones. Lee Byron, Facebook’s Product Designer said on the company’s blog, “Today we’re excited to start rolling out a major upgrade to m.facebook.com that delivers the best possible mobile Web experience no matter what device you’re using.”
Efficient Frontier reported last year that one in three mobile searches is to find a local business. Now do the math, over 250M logging into Facebook via their mobile phones and possibly searching for your product or service on Facebook. Hopefully you appear on their search results?
Upgraded Facebook “Questions” Feature: On March 24th, Facebook rolled out the new “Questions” feature http://www.facebook.com/questions/ which can be used as a great market research/crowdsourcing tool by brands. Mashable calls it the “recommendation engine.” Individuals, brands and organizations can use the upgraded Questions to feel the pulse of their community in real-time. When asking a question, users have an option to create a poll with restricted answers or one that allows anybody to add answers. The latter option is helpful if, for instance, they want to ask their friends for restaurant recommendations.
Facebook Questions provides a greater engagement technique for brands and use it to increase interactions on their wall. Applications like Wildfire offered this function to Facebook, but third party applications also require users to give access to their personal data which is a turn off – Questions does away with that hurdle, providing direct access to users. So make sure you are asking the right questions
What are you doing on Facebook? Tell us if you have tested any of new features and how is it working out for you?