Social media platforms never stop changing their features to try and cater to the needs of users. However, recent changes to Facebook has made a huge difference to not only its mobile app which could alter who decides to use it – and why but also the way it wants the platform to be used.
So what are the recent changes to Facebook?
The platform, which was invented 15 years ago, is now set to concentrate on two features – ‘events’ and ‘groups’. Mark Zuckerberg has suggested that he wants users to think differently about the use of the app and hopes to encourage better social interaction between users.
This change is set to occur immediately on both IOS and Android but will take a few months before it is applied to the desktop version.
The company recently wrote a blog post to share the news of the recent changes to Facebook to its fans; stating: “There are tens of millions of active groups on Facebook. When people find the right one, it often becomes the most meaningful part of how they use Facebook. And today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful.
“With this in mind, we’re rolling out a fresh new design for Facebook that’s simpler and puts your communities at the center. We’re also introducing new tools that will help make it easier for you to discover and engage with groups of people who share your interests.”
Ironically, founder Mark Zuckerberg has chosen to concentrate on this particular update so users spend less time on Facebook and instead, make the decision to get out and meet people face-to-face by benefitting from these updated features.
Facebook wants to shift focus from the News Feed
Many of us spend time browsing through our news feeds to get the latest information from our family, friends and news from around the world. However, Facebook’s new update could see the current news feed disappear altogether in the future – although, it doesn’t seem to be happening just yet. Facebook ultimately has the intention of forcing users to join wider communities; whether it be connecting with people they haven’t met before or haven’t spoken to in years.
‘Events’ has always been an element of Facebook, but the company has given the feature a complete refurb. On the mobile app, Events now has its own tab at the top of the page next to ‘Groups’ and hopes to promote things to do in the user’s local town and surrounding areas. The tab also features a map to show users exactly where events are taking place for added convenience. The new layout seems to be far easier to use than the previous version, in the sense that users can almost instantly find events that are of interest, as well as organising their calendar with private (hosted by friends) or public events.
‘Groups’ has also always been a side-line on the Facebook app, but has become one of the key features in Facebook’s makeover. The new groups tab shows users a personalised feed of activity occurring across the communities they have signed up to, as well as recommending other groups they may also be interested in; including Marketplace and Gaming.
What does the change mean for businesses?
This redesign may seem that in the future of Facebook isn’t going to put businesses as number one priority. Back in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook would be looking to share ‘meaningful content’ between family and friends in reference to the violations of publishers posting offensive content on the news feed. It seems as though the trend has continued but on a whole new level.
With this being said, it’s important that businesses think about how they can adapt their strategies to fit in with Facebook’s new plans. Organic reach has already fallen dramatically in the past year or so, meaning businesses have had to work harder to get new users to see their content.
But we feel that this is not the end of business pages as they are too important to too many people and to the bottom line of Facebook.
How can businesses make money from Facebook groups and events?
The change shouldn’t alarm businesses to much; providing they’re not solely content-based and rely on the news feed to make their sole income through advertising.
Businesses can still make money through Facebook groups with the correct strategies; but more in the way of concentrated marketing and promotion to achieve sales of their products and services at a later date. For example, users who come across a business’ Facebook group could be advised to visit the website and sign up to the email newsletter or blog, if they are interested in the content.
A Facebook group would also be a way of sharing free and useful content to those who have joined, to give the illusion that your business is an industry leader. Users will be far more likely to purchase from your company if they believe your business is held in high-regard.
Finally, you could even reap the rewards of promoting business events directly on the events tab, as a way of marketing your brand name to local users who may never have been aware that your business exists.
As a summary, some of the benefits your business may experience from using a Facebook event or group include:
• Building up a list of potential customers
• Becoming an expert in the field
• Pushing more traffic to your blog
• Growing your email list
• Hosting training and industry events
• Finding potential employees
• Selling your products and services
With 1 billion people currently using Facebook groups and the figure set to increase, it’s easy to see why businesses are excited about what the future may hold with the updates to the events and groups features. However, only time will tell as to how successful it will actually be.
If you would like to know more about the Facebook algorithm works please take a look at our blog here.