Facebook redesigns its platforms and applies dynamic updates to the Facebook Inc interface – announcing the news on 30 April at the company’s annual F8 conference in San Jose, California. Here, we analyse the input of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and look at how global businesses will now be able to utilise the platform and better understand the new changes that have since been implemented.
Speaking at the conference, CEO of Facebook Inc, Mark Zuckerberg, said: “Today, we’re going to talk about building a privacy-focused social platform. So, the basic idea here is that, in all of our lives, we have our public spaces like our town squares, and we have our private spaces like our living rooms. And, in our digital lives, we also need both public and private spaces.
“For the last 15 years or so, we’ve focused on building Facebook and Instagram into the digital equivalents of the town square, where you can do almost anything that you’d want with a lot of people at once. You can stay in touch with all your friends, meet new people who share your interests, start businesses; [even] organise fundraisers for causes you care about.
“For a lot of us, the first superpower that the internet gave us was the ability to connect with the whole world at once. It enabled us to cross geographic boundaries, to form new kinds of communities that couldn’t even exist before, for emerging creators and entrepreneurs to find global audiences, and for new ideas and movements to spread faster than before.
“But, overall, this is the biggest change to the Facebook app and website that we’ve made in the last five years, since we made the whole thing native and a lot faster… We’re not just updating the look and feel, we’re also updating the Facebook icon and refreshing it for the first time since I can remember to make it a bit more lively and modern…
“Let’s move on to Instagram. [Here], we are also very focused on adding more private interactions to what is generally a core staple of our digital town square… And, we’re mostly focused on stories, which are generally more privacy-protective since they’re more ephemeral than posting into a feed permanently. And we’re also focused on payments and private interactions with businesses.”
What does the Facebook redesign mean for your social media marketing endeavours?
Craig Johnston, owner of digital agency Savvy Sprout, comments: “Facebook users seem more group orientated these days – they want to share information more privately with specific communities. Due to this interface reshuffle, group information will be accessible via a tab on the left of the screen; and a group’s button will also be available up top. Both the tab, and the button, will remind users fairly constantly about taking a ‘group’s approach’ to Facebook – so we recommend that our clients don’t hesitate to search for, and join, new groups that matter to them; to see which groups their friends belong to; and to reorder their current memberships so they work well for them,” he enthuses.
In the marketing niche, Facebook is continuing to show its prioritisation of group memberships – even if they’re brand dominated – by instilling in its algorithms the importance of group content over that of individual publishers. The skills to learn now, enthuses Johnston, are how to start and build up a community for your group, taking note of the following tips:
- go to ‘create new group’ and decide on an appropriate level of privacy;
- fill in a bio, choose a representative pic, and add key group criteria;
- invite friends you’re keen on having as members, from a tab beneath your cover photo;
- ask questions, send out polls, share blogs, chat live and keep your group informed via third-party content; and, finally…
- seek assistance in managing your group which, in professional hands, will elicit critical information such as overall engagement, engagement distribution and an audience breakdown, among other factors.
“A thriving brand community, which engages more than ever before in the posts you send out, should mean your global sales rise exponentially. If groups are made more private, a sense of exclusivity surrounds them and people are more likely to want to become members – especially if the subject matter and product/service being offered are valuable and of interest,” suggests Johnston.
Further to this, a media statement from Facebook has stated: “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 [the platform]. And, today, more than 400 million people on Facebook belong to a group that they find meaningful, making social media marketing an extremely viable option when done correctly.”
Apparently, a heap of unique features for dedicated groups will be part-and-parcel of this new initiative, meaning more privacy for groups with health issues; and more chat features for those who play online games, for example. Facebook’s dating service will allow users to “express interest in” their friends via a Secret Crush feature… while a Meet New Friends feature will connect users who opt in and, for example, live near each other or seem compatible. Facebook’s e-commerce service, Marketplace, will no longer need to arrange payment outside of the platform – instead, PayPal Holdings Inc will process payments directly inside Marketplace, easing the way for all financial transactions.
This is an interesting development in light of the “open-sharing model” on which Facebook was originally built. It reiterates the more cautious and targeted user approach to interacting on the platform that is prevalent these days and will certainly build up trust as it protects users from future security issues and the most destructive of online fraudsters.