Facebook features – October 2016 update

Posted by Chris Woods on 1 Nov, 2016
View comments Social Media
As expected nothing is slowing down in the ever adapting and developing world of the globe’s social media powerhouse, Facebook.

October has seen a collection of updates, with new tools and features coming online. Here’s our round up:

Facebook launches Events from Facebook App

The launch of Facebook Events has followed a similar strategy to the one the social network used in 2015 when it split Facebook Messenger from its main app and launched an individual messenger app in its own right. It has now followed suit with the app’s events functionality and created a standalone Events App. The app, as the name suggests, is dedicated purely to Facebook’s events function and is intended to give users a quick and easy overview of current and upcoming events. These are based on the user and their likes and connections.

The main interface of the app functions much like a timeline but is based on event associated activity. The app also has a search functionality so users can find events close to them or at a location of their choice. As expected, this can be filtered to show specific times in the future and aims to help users better co-ordinate and plan activities and attendance at set events. The app also features its own dedicated calendar. It’s based very closely on the iOS calendar interface but is dedicated purely to connected events.

Events from Facebook is available now on iOS in the US and UK and has been promised to reach Android in the very near future.

Image source: Facebook

Events from Facebook is a new app we designed for event seekers who are passionate about keeping up with nearby events and finding things to do with their friends. Whether you’re looking for something to attend this weekend or just wondering what’s happening in your area, Events will help get you there.” – Facebook Newsroom

Facebook Recommendations starts testing in the US

Facebook has long prided itself on its ability to bring people together and keep them connected with what matters. Part of this experience is being able to reach out easily to close friends and family for advice and guidance. Facebook is now testing a new means of formalizing this process by rolling out a Get Recommendations feature. The feature will allow users to turn on the get recommendations functionality when writing a post they’re seeking advice on.

This new feature will make a recommendations post distinguishable from a standard post and allow connected peers to actively offer suggestions and recommendations. In the first round of testing Facebook said a recommendations tab shown when logged in via desktop which will act as a shortcut for uses. It will display all recent requests for recommendations from existing Facebook connections. There is no word yet as to whether or not Facebook will introduce any additional functionality beyond allowing friends to directly recommend local businesses in a more pronounced way, but we’d like to think more features might becomeavailable as the testing progresses.

This testing is thus far only confirmed for certain parts of the US and will only roll out in stages. Watch this space and let us know if you’ve seen the recommendation function pop up on your account.

Enhancement to Local Business calls to action

Probably one of the most marketer relevant updates comes in the form of an announcement that Local Business Pages will receive new call to action functionality directly through Facebook. Previously this functionality was fairly basic and saw many businesses simply direct users to their website. Now, it seems the social network is trying to further develop this process and allow for interactions with local businesses to take place within the Facebook platform.

The new local business actions include:

  • Order food: You can now order food from restaurants directly from their Facebook Pages. Simply click “Start Order” on any restaurant’s Facebook Page that uses Delivery.com or Slice.
  • Request an appointment: For local businesses that require you to book an appointment, such as a spa or hairdressers, you’ll be able request a time via the business’ Facebook Page and view their entire range of services and offerings. They’ll then get back to you on Messenger to confirm your appointment.
  • Get a quote: Some local business pages will now have a “Get Quote” button at the top that lets you easily and quickly request a quote from the business.
  • Get tickets to movies and events: For new movies, you’ll be able to buy tickets straight from the official Facebook Pages via Fandango, in partnership with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite. Future updates to this will include buying tickets to other events via the previously discussed Events from Facebook App.

This new local business functionality is again only available in the US while Facebook tests the waters but many local businesses will be watching with a keen eye as this rolls out to a wider audience. There is the potential for this to open up a new direct response advertising route using Facebook, for businesses keen to advertise using social media.

As these features become more widely available to different business types and connected with a greater variety of other order platforms, we expect a significant shift in the the way local businesses consider Facebook within the context of their wider marketing strategy.

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